Sri Lanna Park adopts drones and firebreaks to combat wildfires

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

Sri Lanna National Park adjusted its wildfire prevention strategies, incorporating controlled burns to tackle forest fires effectively.

Park Chief Anon Kullanin revealed that using drones to monitor and map the fires significantly aided the firefighting efforts.

Sri Lanna National Park recently faced a challenging wildfire situation. According to Anon, the park utilised drones to identify hotspots and plan entry routes to extinguish the fires. The teams started at the fire’s origin and worked their way down until the flames were completely under control.

The operation, which took place in steep mountainous terrain, required nearly 12 hours to complete, beginning in the early morning and concluding around 3am to 4am the next day.

The difficult conditions included steep slopes and intense heat, causing exhaustion and hunger among the firefighters. Despite these hardships, the team found a sense of camaraderie and satisfaction in their successful mission, even enjoying a meal together afterwards.

The primary causes of these wildfires were often linked to foraging activities in the area. Some fires were accidentally started, while others were set deliberately. The challenging terrain required the firefighters to be highly skilled and well-prepared.

Before entering the area, the team underwent thorough training and rehearsals, including demonstrations of firefighting techniques. Fortunately, serious injuries were rare, with only minor scrapes from branches being reported. This resilience was attributed to the firefighters’ extensive training and experience.

Controlled burns

To address the wildfire issue, Sri Lanna National Park has revised its controlled burn strategy. The new plan involves more stringent control measures, resulting in fewer wildfires compared to previous years. The enhanced strategy also meant that the firefighting teams were less fatigued and could work more efficiently. Additionally, the park enlisted the help of local volunteers from nearby villages, boosting their firefighting capabilities.

Controlled burns, or firebreaks, involve strategically burning off potential fuel in forested areas, particularly in regions prone to frequent wildfires. This method reduces the amount of available fuel, thereby decreasing the intensity and spread of future fires. However, controlled burns require careful planning and strict adherence to specific conditions to achieve the desired outcomes, such as reducing fuel loads and making wildfires easier to manage.

One crucial aspect of improving wildfire management is increasing the number of dedicated firefighting personnel. The park aims to bolster the Smart Patrol units, ensuring that each team is well-equipped to handle emergencies.

The integration of technology, such as drones for fire detection and camera traps to monitor illegal logging activities, has proven invaluable. Providing adequate gear and support to all firefighters is essential for maintaining their morale and effectiveness, reported KhaoSod.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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