Parks and sanctuaries closed by fire in N.Thailand
Eight parks and wildlife sanctuaries ablaze in N.Thailand
Thailand’s air pollution centre has asked the Department of National Parks to close eight parks and wildlife sanctuaries in northern provinces to control forest fires.
Department head Pinsak Suraswadi said that the closures will allow firefighters greater flexibility to deal with problems in the parks and wildlife sanctuaries. Average PM2.5 levels in the past 24 hours increased 67%, while hotspots doubled overnight.
Forest fires in Thailand annually occur during the dry season from December to May with their peak in February-March. In extremely dry sites, double burning is common. The fires consume surface litter, other loose debris on the forest floor and small vegetation.
The eight parks and wildlife sanctuaries affected are:
- Mae Ping national park at the southern end of the Thanon Thong Chai Range, in Lamphun, Tak, and Chiang Mai Provinces
- Nam Pai wildlife sanctuary in Mae Hong Son Province, about 50 kilometres north of Chiang Mai in the Mae Taeng and Wiang Haeng Districts of Chiang Mai Province
- Op Luang national park, 105 kilometres south of Chiang Mai in Chom Thong, Mae Chaem and Hot Districts.
- Omkoi wildlife sanctuary which straddles Chiang Mai and Tak provinces
- Mae Tuen wildlife sanctuary, located in Mae Ramat District and Sam Ngao District, Tak Province
- Pha Daeng (formerly Chiang Dao) national park in Chiang Dao, Wiang Haeng and Chai Prakan districts of Chiang Mai
- Si Nan sanctuary located in Waengsa, Nanoi and Namuen districts in the southern part of Nan province
- Tham Pha Thai sanctuary between Mueang and Ngao districts in Lampang province.
Pinsak said, however, that tourist areas in the parks and wildlife sanctuaries which are safe will not be closed.
The department head said that 800 hotspots were detected Thursday, about 93% of which are in forest reserves and protected forests. A survey, conducted between January 1 and February 15, showed that the PM2.5 problem and hotspots in northern provinces will be worse than in the past two years.
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