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Suspected forest fire arsonist arrested in Lampang

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PHOTO: Udomsilp Thithamma at the time of his arrest - Chiang Rai Times

Despite prohibitions on agricultural burning, wildfires continue ravaging forests across Thailand’s North. Now, police have arrested an arsonist suspected of starting forest fires in the northern province of Lampang. Forest rangers suspect he started fires in the Mae Jang forest reserve.

Udomsilp Thithamma was arrested at his shelter in the compound of a rock crushing plant. Bundles of mosquito repellent sticks bound with matches were found there during a raid. Udomsilp reportedly claimed they were intended for burning grass and shrubs on his farm land, which is prohibited.

Forest Department director-general Atthaphol Charoenchansa told Thai media that officials were tipped off by villagers that the suspect had set several fires in the Mae Jang forest reserve, damaging about 16 hectares of forest. He says officials dismissed the suspect’s claim and are investigating whether others are involved.

Suspected forest fire arsonist arrested in Lampang | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

A conviction for setting fire to forests is subject to a prison term of up to 20 years and/or a maximum fine of two million baht.

Wildfires, largely due to crop field burning, continue destroying forests across Thailand, especially in the North. The hardest-hit area is Lampang province, where fires have ravaged national park and wildlife sanctuary areas.

Officials of the Doi Pha Mueang Wildlife Sanctuary in Lampang say the forest fires also wiped out 13 Rai of forest in a single day, including seven rai in conservation areas of Tham Pha Thai National Park.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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