11 July 2024

National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department has been developing and testing prototype fire-resistant clothing, expected to be provided to its forest firefighters next year.

According to Noppadol Katechan, one of the department’s forest specialists, a fire-resistant jacket and long-sleeve shirt have been designed and sent for cutting.

The clothing will be made from a fabric which is resistant to sparks and embers, not fabric coated with a fire-resistant substance, which gradually loses its protection when washed, said Noppadol.

Since the cost to produce each jacket and shirt is estimated at about 4,000 baht, only ten will be produced initially and sent to a fire-fighting unit for trial.

Noppadol said that fire fighters’ shirts normally burn quickly when they come into contact with flames or sparks, but the new fabric does not.

The department has already launched fire prevention operations in ten national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in northern and western provinces, about a month ahead of schedule, in anticipation that the situation may worsen due to the effects of El Niño.

About 480,000 hectares of Thailand’s forests were destroyed by forest fires last year.