Drought conditions bring increased risk of forest fires, air pollution

Drought conditions bring an increased risk of forest fires, air pollution

Bangkok – The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation has declared a total of 13 districts of five provinces, namely Roi Et, Sri Saket, Nakhon Ratchasima, Trat, and Chonburi, as drought-hit areas.

In the northern regions, hot spots and airborne particulate matter have risen again and a recent forest fire in Phrae province damaged 1,500 rai of land before authorities were able to bring the blaze under control.

Airborne dust and pollution in the nine northern provinces was reported by the Department of Pollution Control’s Air4thai website in a range of 51 to 205 micrograms per cubic meter with the highest, red-zone hot spot reported in Tambon Chong Kham in the capital district of Mae Hong Son where the particulate matter has remained at a health-affecting level.

The Department of Groundwater Resources Director General, Kusol Chotirat, confirmed that preparations have been made for the inspection into the conditions of groundwater wells, water pumps, waterworks, and water quality improvement systems in the face of the current drought. A total of 132 permanent water distribution spots have been set up to provide clean drinking water while 737 groundwater wells are being excavated this month in areas which might suffer a lack of water. Nakharat units and trucks equipped with the water quality improvement systems have been deployed to make clean drinking water for villagers in drought-hit areas.

Link: https://www.pattayamail.com/thailandnews/drought-conditions-bring-increased-risk-of-forest-fires-air-pollution-253553

Mae Hong Son continues to reel under man-made fires

Mae Hong Son continues to reel under man-made fires

Breaking News April 28, 2019

By Tossapol Boonpat
The Nation

More than 100 forest fires are raging in Mae Hong Son province, half of which reportedly stemmed from people’s attempts to clear farmlands to prepare the soil for the early sowing of seeds before the rainy season.

A satellite image reported that as of 1.47am on Sunday, Mae Hong Son had 152 hotspots (49 in Pai, 36 in Sop Moei, 36 in Khun Yuam, 18 in Mae Sariang, 12 in Pang Mapha, and one in Mae La Noi).

There were no fires in Muang district. Officials and volunteers are working day and night to put out the forest fires but they have been able to reach only those inaccessible areas while the fires in the steep mountain areas continued to blaze, resulting in hundreds of rai of forestland being destroyed.

A fire that had occurred since Saturday in the Mae Surin Waterfall National Park spread to consume a roadside pavilion, a nearby building for receiving visitors, 100-meter-long power lines, as well as wooden signs and flowers at the entrance to the waterfalls on Sunday, park chief Preecha Thajakan said.

Park officials and volunteers built firebreaks to contain the fire in the morning.

 Link: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/breakingnews/30368482

Peat fire razes 420 ha of forest near Kuantan, firemen still battling blaze

Peat fire razes 420ha of forest near Kuantan, firemen still battling a blaze

NATION | Thursday, 25 Apr 2019 

KUANTAN (Bernama): A peat soil forest fire near the Sultan Ahmad Shah Maritime Academy (AMSAS) in Sungai Ular here razed 420ha of forest Thursday (April 25), compared to 40ha last week.

Pahang Fire and Rescue Department director Nor Hisham Mohammad said the absence of an entry road, limited water source, and wind movements were among the difficulties faced by the department in an operation to douse the fire.

He said that, other than AMSAS, two other areas were affected by thick smoke from the fire – the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park and Sungai Bagging here.

“The main focus in the operation to put out the fire is in the Sungai Bagging area because there are a school and housing estate where the air pollutant index (API) is touching 300, namely, not healthy.

‘’We are aware this has caused anxiety among the residents. The effort to put out the fire is being actively carried out including by using the helicopter for water bombings,” he told reporters after viewing the operation to put out the fire here Thursday.

Nor Hisham said a Mi-17-IV helicopter from the department’s air unit today conducted 15 trips involving 1,600 to 2,500 liters of water each time.

He said the fire, which was detected from April 15 was believed to have been triggered by open burning at the center of the forest. – Bernama

Link: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/04/25/peat-fire-razes-420ha-of-forest-near-kuantan-firemen-still-battling-blaze/


BMKG pantau 41 titik panas di Natuna

BMKG Pantau 41 Titik Panas di Natuna

BATAM (ANTARA), Badan Meteorologi, Klimatologi dan Geofisika memantau 41 titik panas  akibat kebakaran hutan dan lahan (karhutla)  di wilayah Kabupaten Natuna, Kepulauan Riau.

“Dari data hotspot hingga sore hari ini sebaran titik panas masih terpantau 40 titik di wilayah Bunguran Timur dan wilayah Bunguran Barat terpantau 1 titik,” kata Kasi Data dan Informasi BMKG Hang Nadim Batam, Suratman di Batam, Senin.

Ia mengatakan kabut asap cenderung meningkat pada pagi, karena kondisi kelembaban udara yang cukup tinggi dan angin yang bertiup masih kategori teduh sehingga saat penguapan udara terjadi, kabut asap di wilayah kebakaran tidak bisa kemana-mana.

“Akhirnya merambat pelan mengikuti pergerakan arah angin dan pengaruhnya masih bersifat lokal di wilayah tertentu,” kata dia.

Secara umum, kata dia melanjutkan, kabut asap cukup membahayakan karena membatasi jarak pandang dan berdampak bagi kesehatan seseorang apabila terhisap melalui saluran pernafasan.

Namun, ketebalan kabut asap belum mempengaruhi penerbangan di Natuna.

Berdasarkan pantauan BMKG, pergerakan kabut asap ke arah selatan hingga barat Kepulauan Natuna. Jauh dari posisi Bandara Ranai yang berada di sebelah timur Natuna.

Meski begitu, BMKG mengimbau masyarakat untuk bersama-sama menjaga lingkungan dari kebakaran lahan dan hutan, antara lain dengan tidak membuang puntung rokok sembarangan yang dapat menyebabkan kebakaran lahan dan hutan.

Masyarakat juga diimbau tidak membuka lahan untuk pertanian/perkebunan dengan cara membakar.

Link: https://www.antaranews.com/berita/840356/bmkg-pantau-41-titik-panas-di-natuna

Fire Dept: 40-hectare forest in Kuantan on fire

Fire Dept: 40-hectare forest in Kuantan on fire

 21 April 2019

KUANTAN, April 21 — Nearly 40 hectares of a forest near the Sultan Ahmad Shah Maritime Academy here have reportedly been on fire since Thursday.

Gebeng Fire and Rescue Station head Syed A. Jamaludin Syed Mohamed said they only found out about the fire at 4 pm on Thursday when a patrol team spotted it.

So far, he said, only four hectares of the area on fire had been extinguished.

“We believe the fire started deep in the forest, but we cannot determine the cause yet as we are having difficulty getting there.

“For now, we are fighting the blaze from a coconut plantation next to the forest,” he said when contacted today, adding that it took them almost 40 minutes to pass through the plantation to reach the border of the burning forest.

Apart from not having direct access, he said they also faced other problems, like limited water supply and changing wind directions.

He said Department of Environment staff and 10 coconut plantation workers were also helping them fight the blaze, which he expected to be fully extinguished in one week. — Bernama


German forest fire risk spikes amid high temperatures, drought

German forest fire risk spikes amid high temperatures, drought

Date 21.04.2019 | Author Jeanette Cwienk

Sun and warmth might seem like the perfect weather for Easter. But experts warn that Germany is far too dry, almost everywhere in the country.

Sun and warmth might seem like the perfect weather for Easter. But experts warn that Germany is far too dry, almost everywhere in the country.

Normally, the lucrative cash crop known as rapeseed, or canola, blooms throughout the German state of Thuringia at the end of May. But this year, you would look in vain for the yellow blossoms that are usually turned into one of the western world’s main sources of cooking oil.

According to Andre Rathgeber of the Farmers’ Association of Thuringia, the prognosis for rapeseed is so bad, most farmers have decided to clear the land for other crops.

This is because the land is far too dry, especially in the key area about 60 cm (23 inches) below the surface, said German Weather Service (DWD) meteorologist Corina Schube.

Forest fire alert level raised across Germany

German winters are supposed to be rainy — 210 liters per square meter (51.5 gallons per square foot) — but the average in recent years has dropped to only 180. And that amount is far from evenly distributed. This winter, the Black Forest was doused in 300 liters per square meter, while much of Thuringia saw only 25.

This amount of water is usual for a subtropical region, but certainly not for Germany. The drought is particularly dangerous for Germany’s forests, where even in the relatively cooler northeast, increasing temperatures have brought the forest fire danger level to either “high” or “very high.”

The risk is especially dire for the country’s many pine forests, where extremely thirsty trees drain the soil much more quickly than other types of timber. Unusually massive storms in recent years have added to the problem, as now dead wood and leave litter the forest floor in much greater amounts — making perfect kindling.

These storms also greatly weaken trees, making it harder for them to withstand the periods of drought. The drought, in turn, means trees such as pines produce less resin, making it harder for them to defend against invasive insects.

500 million trees died in summer 2018

Another way unusual weather problems are exacerbating Germany’s risk of forest fires and poor crop yields is a drought in some areas and far too heavy rainfall in others. The latter can wash away freshly planted seeds, ruining a harvest.

German agriculturalists have tried to combat climate change by planting more deciduous and fewer coniferous trees. However, the shorter roots of new trees mean they cannot reap the benefits of moisture buried deep underground, and they tend to wither much more quickly.

Sebastian Schreiber of Germany’s Agriculture Council said that 500 million young trees died in the summer heat wave of 2018.

Forestry experts are now promoting the creation of specialized, diverse forests, with plants specially chosen to protect each other from drought, storms, and parasites.

Link: https://www.dw.com/en/german-forest-fire-risk-spikes-amid-high-temperatures-drought/a-48422025

Forest fires continue to plague Mae Hong Son

Forest fires continue to plague Mae Hong Son

Breaking News April 21, 2019 12:26

By Tosapol Boonpat
The Nation

Illegal outdoor fires continue to occur in Mae Hong Son province despite the ban and the raging smog crisis.

In recent months, Mae Hong Son has been struggling with haze most of the time. Exposure to serious air pollution has become a threat to the health of locals.

Authorities have blamed outdoor fires as the key cause of smog.

However, illegal outdoor fires continue to be detected.

Satellite images confirmed that there were at least 23 hotspots in Mae Hong Son on Saturday. Of them, 13 were in Sop Moei district.

Kampanart Prachongpim, who heads Mae Hong Son’s forest-fire control division, said on Sunday that teams from several provinces had come to Mae Hong Son to help extinguish forest fires that were often caused by people.

At least, two bushfires extinguished on Saturday were caused by people going into the forest to collect forest produce.

According to him, by the time these forest fires were put out, about nine rai of forest reserves had been destroyed.

Link: https://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/breakingnews/30368051

Rain brings relief from forest fires in Coimbatore

Rain brings relief from forest fires in Coimbatore

By: Wilson Thomas

21 April 2019

Dampens the rising danger of wildfires after weeks of dry conditions

Illegal Logging and Forest Fires Threaten Resources of Protected Areas in Costa Rica

Illegal Logging and Forest Fires Threaten Resources of Protected Areas in Costa Rica

In the Country, 99% of Forest Fires Present in Dry Period Are for Action of the Human Being

Officers of the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) have attended last week several fires in the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge Border Corridor. Some hectares of land have been burned but the fire has been controlled.

Also, this week, they attended illegal logging in the Border Corridor National Wildlife Refuge and a case of illegal logging of wood in protected areas of streams and springs; this time in the district of Horquetas de Sarapiquí.

Illegal logging was also attended to at Caño San José in Puerto Viejo, Sarapiquí, among others. The call of the MINAE authorities is to stop logging in order to avoid drought and more damage to the environment.


In the country, 99% of forest fires present in the dry season are by human action, so as every year, people are asked to take precautions not to build campfires or start fires within protected areas.

Some of the tips to avoid fires is to keep the lots and lots around the houses clean and free of weeds:

• Avoid burning garbage, leaves, trunks, Christmas trees, plastics, tires, and any other material; in the vicinity of vacant lots or patios in your home.

• Do not dispose of combustible objects, glass, cans, plastic or trash in vacant lots, on the edge of streets, pastures or other areas prone to catching fire.

• Maintain rounds (free strips of weeds, vegetation, and combustible materials) at the boundaries of property prone or exposed to risk by uncontrolled burning.

• Do not throw cigarette butts or other lit objects in vacant lots or on the side of the road.

• If you go camping: do not leave trash and combustible materials in the field, avoid fires or eliminate all combustible surfaces from the place where you build the campfire, do not leave fires burning, when you go to bed or leave the camp, make sure that the fire is extinguished by full.

Link: https://thecostaricanews.com/illegal-logging-and-forest-fires-threaten-resources-of-protected-areas-in-costa-rica/

Chiang Rai fires mostly contained; locals urged to report arsonists

Chiang Rai fires mostly contained; locals urged to report arsonists

national April 18, 2019

By Natthawat Laping
The Nation

THE HUGE FIRE, which this week turned Doi Jorakhe into an inferno and destroyed more than 1,000 rai (160 hectares) of forestland, has been contained with most hot spots put out, deputy governor Narong Rojjanasothorn said yesterday.

However, the battles against wildfires will continue elsewhere in Chiang Rai, which still suffers from 380 hotspots, Narong said after meeting with the Doi Jorakhe special coordination center for fighting forest fires, located at Wat Pateung in Mae Chan district.

As of 2 am yesterday, 952 hotspots were cited in the upper North (380 in Chiang Rai, 120 in Nan, 106 in Mae Hong Son, 92 in Chiang Mai, 82 in Lampang, 58 in Phayao, 56 in Tak, 52 in Phrae and six in Lamphun), while Myanmar had 3,480 hotspots and Laos 1,800.

Forest fires continued to contribute to dangerous levels of PM2.5 – airborne particulates 2.5 microns or less in diameter – in many parts of the upper North. The Pollution Control Department (PCD) at 9 am put the 24-hour average of PM2.5 at 159 micrograms per cubic meter of air in Tambon Wiang of Muang Chiang Rai, and at 170mcg in Tambon Wiang Phang Kham in Mae Sai district.

As of press time, three of the five fires on Doi Jorakhe had been totally put out, while two other hot spots – forestland near a Mae Chan monastery and the “Pha Toob” forestland in the Taad Thong Waterfall area – were being handled and firebreaks being built to protect communities, Narong said.

Narong also called on people to watch out for those who were sparking the forest fire, so they can be punished. He also noted that Chiang Rai had not experienced extensive forest fires caused by human acts in the past two years. Paying tribute to the hard work of some 600 officials and volunteers who joined the Doi Jorakhe battle, he also noted that two choppers had carried nearly 70,000 liters of water in more than 80 flights to douse flames in hard-to-reach areas.

The Doi Jorakhe wildfire caught public attention as photos of the fire were widely shared on Thai social media. His Majesty the King had graciously seen to it that a mobile kitchen was dispatched from the 37th Military Circle to support the Doi Jorakhe forest firefighters, while members of the public also delivered drinking water and tools to aid the effort.

Chiang Rai still has 380 hotspots to douse, the deputy governor noted. They included Doi Kad Phee in tambon Wawi of Mae Suay district that had started on Tuesday night and spread to the three nearby Tambons of Mae Suay, Mae Prik, and Sri Tham.

In a related development, a 46-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday afternoon in tambon Por of Wiang Kaen district for alleged setting fire to the scrub on his farmland, which spread through 5 rai of forestland.

Link: https://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30367857