Raging wildfire engulfs mountains in northeast Thailand

Photo via the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation

A wildfire that started on Khao Chaplu mountain in Nakhon Nayok province in northeast Thailand on Tuesday has spread to engulf 700 rai of land on several mountains in Khao Laem, Khao Kaew and Khao Tabak.

Strong winds blew the flames to the peak of Khao Laem mountain yesterday, which looks like an erupting volcano in photos taken from behind the Chulachomkhlao Royal Military Academy in Mueang district late last night.

The governor of Nakhon Nayok province, Bancha Chaowarin, said that KA-32 helicopters from the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation will attempt to extinguish the Khao Laem inferno today and are expected to arrive at 1pm.

Last night, ten fire engines were deployed on standby to protect nearby communities but it was too dangerous for firefighters to attempt to quell the flames during the night, said the governor.

No evacuation orders were made yesterday despite the nearest communities living 400 – 500 metres away from the uncontrollable fire.

Netizens pointed out that there are many makeshift construction worker camps near Khao Laem mountain.

The military will convene at 8am today to plan how to prevent the fire from reaching communities, said the governor.

As of 7am today, the fire continues to erupt and currently covers around 700 rai of land in the Phrommanee and Khao Phra subdistricts.

The mountains are abundant with wildlife and reports say that wild animals have been spotted trying to flee the flames. The Facebook page “this is Nakhon Nayok” posted a photo of an owl that escaped the flames and perched in a tree in the community.

Anyone who sees wild animals in need of help should call the Nakhon Nayok Wildlife Rescue Centre 1 on 1362, said the post.

Officials say the blaze started during a summer storm on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, arson and forest fires in north and northeast Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos continue to pump a thick blanket of PM2.5 dust into the air. Chiang Mai has been ranked the most polluted city in the world for several days in a row.

Northern Thailand News


Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.