Wildfires destroy more than 2.6 million rai of land

Wildfires destroy more than 2.6 million rai of land

national April 12, 2019 14:38

By Tossapol Boonpat

The Nation

Forest fires have damaged more than 2.6 million rai of land in nine northern provinces, the Mae Hong Son forest fire and haze control center said on Friday.

Citing a satellite image report by Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, the center said that during January 1- March 16, 2,680,634 rai of land was destroyed in wildfires.

The damage included 102,268 rai in Chiang Rai, 374,313 rai in Chiang Mai, 791,301 rai in Tak, 221,300 rai in Nan, 150,995 in Phayao, 176,107 rai in Phrae, 203,889 rai in Mae Hong Son, 470,009 in Lampang and 190,452 in Lamphun.

As of 1.47am on Friday the daily satellite image report said Mae Hong Son had 124 hotspots (10 in Pang Mapha, 17 in Pai, 30 in Muang, 16 in Khun Yuam, three in Mae La Noi, 26 in Mae Sariang, and 22 in Sop Moei), the center said

An academic source at the Royal Forest Department said that people should not be overly alarmed about the high figure as wildfires swept through accumulated dried and flammable materials and most of the trees would produce new leaves and shoots.

The source said that many tree seeds, having hard shells, also were thinning by the fire, so when the rainy season comes young plants can grow out of them in a faster rate than the unburned seeds.

Mae Hong Son’s level of PM2.5 – airborne particulates 2.5 microns or less in diameter – was at 104 micrograms per cubic meter of air, double the Thai safety limit of 50 mcg, said the Pollution Control Department (PCD) in its 9am report on the 24-hour average of PM2.5.

The agency said the PM2.5 levels were between 66 mcg and 194 mcg in nine northern provinces. Tambon Wiang Phang Kham in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district was worst off at 194 mcg followed by Tambon Huai Khon in Nan’s Chalerm Phrakiat district (165 mcg), and Tambon Ban Tom in Phayao’s Muang district (126 mcg). Chiang Mai’s four stations cited PM2.5 levels between 69 mcg – 99 mcg with Chang Pheuk in Muang having the worst number of 99 mcg.

Link: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30367605

Forest fires flare up again in Similajau National Park

Forest fires flare up again in Similajau National Park

NATION | Friday, 12 Apr 2019 |

MIRI: Forest fires have flared up again in the Similajau National Park in northern Sarawak.

The Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) is sending in its volunteer firefighters to help those from Sarawak Bomba who are already there.

SFC chief executive officer Zolkipli Mohamad Aton said on Friday (April 12) that fires had been detected inside the park again.

“We thought the forest fires had been extinguished for good through the hard work of fire-fighters from the Sarawak Bomba who had been battling the fires in the national park since March 21.

“However, the fires reignited yesterday due to the embers that were still burning in the ground.

“The dry and windy situation is fanning the fires,” he said.

Zolkipli on Thursday afternoon visited the national park to personally check the ground situation.

He said the SFC had deployed 26 volunteer fire-fighters to assist the 40 Bomba fire-fighters already inside to try to douse the flames.

Sarawak Bomba had two weeks ago carried out aerial water-bombings to douse the flames.

It deployed its Bomba Air Wing Unit from its Miri base to carry out several dozens of water-bombing sorties to stop the fires from spreading.

Similajau National Park is located at the Bintulu-Miri districts boundary some 150kms south of Miri.

Initial probe showed there was open-burning at the fringes of the park and the fires then spread into the national park.

Link: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/04/12/forest-fires-flare-up-again-in-similajau-national-park/

NASA Comes to India’s Aid in Detecting Forest Fires

NASA Comes to India’s Aid in Detecting Forest Fires

By TWC India Edit Team

India’s battle against forest fires is likely to get a shot in the arm, thanks to two new NASA-monitored satellites deployed over the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Uttar Pradesh. The satellites will keep an eye on any untoward forest fire incidents and will immediately notify PTR forest officials so that they can respond promptly to such incidents.

Joint director of Dehradun-based Forest Survey of India (FSI), Sushant Sharma, told The Times of India that these satellites, which are helmed by NASA and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will send fire sensing data to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The ISRO, in turn, will share this information with the FSI. On receiving the update, the FSI will send fire alerts to affected forest regions in the country, including the team at PTR.

What will really come in handy is that the satellites will provide fire alerts and GPS locations, along with the exact longitude and latitude of the affected area. This will help the respective forest authorities to pinpoint the affected area with accuracy.

A digital map of PTR was also uploaded on the FSI website and the contact information of the forest officials concerned with this have also been provided on the site.

Of the two satellites, one is equipped with a high-resolution camera that can sense even small fires, and the other is capable of detecting only big fires, an official told TOI.

Information compiled by the FSI shows that forest fire incidents in the country have risen 49.32% in the past three years. The data also reveals that among all the states, Mizoram and Maharashtra recorded the most number of such cases.

Link: https://weather.com/en-IN/india/news/news/2019-04-10-nasa-comes-to-indias-aid-in-detecting-forest-fires