West Thailand: Massive operation to save forests from devastating blaze

Photo courtesy of David Aughenbaugh via iStock

More than 250 firefighters from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) have been deployed to the western forest complex to combat raging fires.

With a whopping 1,600 hectares of forest already devastated, these brave souls are working tirelessly to prevent further destruction.

The Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) issued alarming warnings regarding the threat of forest fires in nine provinces, intensifying the urgency of the situation.

The western forest complex, particularly the Salak Phra Wildlife Sanctuary, has been plagued by over 200 hotspots in the past week. However, the combined efforts of the dedicated firefighters, aided by helicopters, have managed to reduce the number to approximately 60. Their unwavering determination is the only thing standing between the fires and the pristine wilderness.

Narupon Thipmontha, the chief of the Department’s Forest Fire Prevention and Control Office, revealed that this year’s forest fires started two weeks earlier than usual. The dry weather conditions and the intrusion of villagers in search of forest products and wildlife have contributed to this alarming situation.

GISTDA identified Tak, Lampang, Phetchabun, Chiang Mai, Nakhon Sawan, Mae Hong Son, Uttaradit, Phitsanuloke, and Nan as the provinces most susceptible to fires. The areas of utmost concern include farmland, protected forests, and land under the land reform program. The burning of farm waste after harvests, land clearing for the next crop, and the search for forest products have significantly increased the risk in these regions, reported Thai PBS World.

According to GISTDA’s recent assessment, a staggering 1,151 hotspots were detected across Thailand on February 8. Among them, 372 were located 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 emerged as the province with the highest number of hotspots, with a startling count of 247. Chaiyaphum followed closely with 169 hotspots, while Nakhon Ratchasima faced 76.

The fire crisis extends beyond Thai borders, as neighbouring countries also grapple with this peril. Myanmar reported a staggering 1,521 hotspots on the same day, while Cambodia faced 524, Laos encountered 388, and Vietnam recorded 120.

Environment NewsThailand News

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.

Related Articles