11 July 2024

About 250 firefighters have been deployed by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to prevent fires in the western forest complex from spreading. So far, 1,600 hectares of forest have been damaged as the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) issues warnings of the threat of forest fires in nine provinces.

According to the department, more than 200 hotspots were detected in the western forest complex in the past week, particularly in the Salak Phra Wildlife Sanctuary, but the numbers have been reduced to about 60 by 250 firefighters who, with the support of helicopters, have been deployed to stop them from spreading.

Narupon Thipmontha, chief of the department’s Forest Fire Prevention and Control Office, said that forest fires have started about two weeks earlier this year, due to the dry weather and access to the forests by villagers searching for forest products and wildlife hunting.

Meanwhile, GISTDA has identified Tak, Lampang, Phetchabun, Chiang Mai, Nakhon Sawan, Mae Hong Son, Uttaradit, Phitsanuloke and Nan as being at high risk of fires.

GISTDA said that areas most at risk are farmland, protected forests and land under the land reform program, due to the burning of farm waste after harvests, land clearing for the next crop or the search for forest products.

According to GISTDA, 1,151 hotspots were detected across Thailand on February 8, including 372 in protected forests, 308 in national forest reserves, 190 in farming areas, 157 in land reform areas, 114 in local communities and 10 along highways.

Kanchanaburi had the most hotspots, with 247, followed by 169 in Chaiyaphum and 76 in Nakhon Ratchasima.

On the same day, 1,521 hotspots were detected in Myanmar, 524 in Cambodia, 388 in Laos and 120 in Vietnam.