New fires in the North likely to be arson – Army

New fires in the North likely to be arson – Army

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by Nathawat Laping
Some 1,000 combined professional and volunteer firefighters are battling a major forest fire in the mountainous area overlapping Chiang Mai’s Muang and Mae Chan districts.

The fire started on Sunday night in the Doi Jorakhe area of Tambon Tha Sud in Muang before spreading to Tambon Pa Teung in Mae Chan, a densely populated area and home to Mae Chan Hospital and temples.

As of this morning, the fire had already devastated 1,000 rai of forestland and nearby plantations.

Mae Chan district chief Wandee Ratchomphu led the efforts by 800 state officials and volunteers to put out the fire and prevent it from reaching communities or more forestland in Mae Fah Luang district. A special coordination center was set up at Wat Pateung to dispatch firefighters to the affected areas by first light, attempts to put out the flames in the heavily wooded mountainous area during the night considered dangerous.

Third Army Region deputy commander Major Buncha Duriyapan was also on the scene to help supervise soldiers joining the fire-fighting efforts. The Army brought in a helicopter to provide support to the Protected Area Regional Office 15’s chopper being used to carry water from the three-meter-deep Tham Sua reservoir to douse the flames in hard-to-reach spots.

Buncha also ordered related agencies, especially the police and army, to investigate and identify the person(s) who started this massive fire, saying this was “a strange and unprecedented situation when wildfires erupted all over the province’s mountainous areas simultaneously”.

He said he was convinced that this was a case of arson and not a freak natural incident like a lightning strike.

The Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency’s fire monitoring system, as of yesterday morning, identified 521 hot spots in the North. Chiang Rai led the pack with 291 hotspots, followed by Nan (57), Lampang (46), Phayao (46), Chiang Mai (44), Tak (15), Mae Hong Son (14), Phrae (6) and Lamphun (2).



Another forest fire in Vattavada region

Another forest fire in Vattavada region

Officials calculate that the fire was intentionally created to delay or prevent departmental action in connection with the Neelakurinji garden. Further investigations are on.

Apr 15, 2019, 07:59 PM IST

Vattavada: Another forest fire has broken out in the Kambakkallu-Kadavari region near here in Idukki district on Monday.

The fire has destroyed several acres of land. The fire is spreading in block 58 of the stipulated Neelakurinji garden.

Forest department and fire and rescue service personnel are trying to douse the blaze.

According to the officials, the fire started on an area owned by the royal plantation company. Similar forest fires were reported in the region in the region in the previous days.

The forest department had registered a case and was investigating as to how the fire broke out. There were reports that the fire was intentionally started by humans.

Officials calculate that the fire was intentionally created to delay or prevent departmental action in connection with the Neelakurinji garden. Further investigations are on.



Forest fires destroy 2.7 million rai of land whilst Chiang Mai is back on top

Forest fires destroy 2.7 million rai of land whilst Chiang Mai is back on top

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By Tossapol Boonpat

Bush fires have devastated nearly 2.7 million rai (there are 2.5 Rai in an Acre) of forests in nine northern provinces.

The Mae Hong Son forest fire and haze control center says that satellite imaging from the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency shows that from January 1 to March 16, 2,680,634 rai was destroyed by wildfires.

The devastation 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 rai in Phayao, 176,107 rai in Phrae, 203,889 rai in Mae Hong Son, 470,009 rai in Lampang and 190,452 rai in Lamphun.

As of yesterday, the daily satellite image showed 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 districts).

But a source from the Royal Forest Department says people should not be overly alarmed by such high figures, as the wildfires had swept through dried, flammable materials on the floors of the forests, and most trees will once again start producing new leaves.  The source said the fires had also thinned the hard shells of pods, so when the rains come, seedlings can sprout faster.

Unhealthy levels of smog were again recorded in the nine northern provinces and one province in the Central region, with Chiang Mai once again reaching the dubious honor as the world’s Number One worst polluted city.

Pralong Damrongthai, PCD director-general, said hazardous levels of air pollution were detected in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lampang, Lamphun, Mae Hong Son, Nan, Phayao, Phrae and Tak provinces, as well as in the Central province of Nakhon Sawan.


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.


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.


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.


Forest fires flare up in Mae Hong Son

Forest fires flare up in Mae Hong Son

national April 11, 2019 13:00

By The Nation

All nine northern provinces, including Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, on Thursday morning, cited dangerous levels of PM2.5 – airborne particulates 2.5 microns or less in diameter.

As of 1.30pm on Wednesday, the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency’s fire monitoring system showed that there were 145 hot spots in Mae Hong Son (28 in Sop Moei, 28 in Mae Sariang, nine in Mae La Noi, 21 in Khun Yuam, 23 in Muang, five in Pang Mapha, and 31 in Pai).

Myanmar had 5,048 hot spots and Laos had 4,035 hot spots.

Muang district chief Pongpira Chuchen said the Tambon Pang Moo special task team conducted a survey of area and water sources to formulate an effective plan to use MI-17 helicopters to aid firefighting in steep mountain areas.

So far, water-spraying helicopters had conducted 300 flights in Mae Sariang and Sop Moei.

Forest fires and haze also ravaged Phayao province. Tambon Ban Tom in Muang district cited the PM2.5 level at 99 micrograms per cubic meter of air.

Muang Phayao district chief Suwit Suriyawong said there were two major forest fires in Tambon Mae Na Rua and Tambon Ban Mai.

Tambon Ban Mai fire destroyed 100 rai of conserved forestland, he added.

Chiang Mai Air Quality Health Index Center as of Thursday morning showed the hourly result of Air Quality Index (AQI) in various Chiang Mai districts with Tambon Muang Khong of Chiang Dao district having the worst AQI value of 341, followed by Tambon Yang Mern of Samoeng district (312) and Tambon Muang Haeng of Wiang Haeng district (310).

In the meantime, the Pollution Control Department at 9am put the 24-hour average of PM2.5 between 63 mcg and 152 mcg in nine northern provinces. The Thai safe limit is 50.

Tambon Wiang Phang Kham in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district was worst off at 152 mcg followed by Tambon Huai Kon in Nan’s Chalermphrakiat district (125 mcg), Tambon Chang Kerng in Chiang Mai’s Mae Chaem district (101 mcg) and Tambon Chang Pheuk in Muang Chiang Mai (93 mcg).


Regime seeks neighbours’ help on smog

Regime seeks neighbors’ help on smog

Laos, Myanmar sent letters on North crisis

10 Apr 2019 at 12:53



The government has sought cooperation from Myanmar and Laos to help mitigate haze, which is wreaking havoc in the North, according to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Gen Prayut said the bush fires and haze in the northern provinces have diminished, though the situation also depends on neighboring countries.

“I yesterday wrote to Laos and Myanmar asking them to help us tackle these problems,” said Gen Prayut.

He said Thai officials on the ground are also working with their Myanmar counterparts to deal with the issue, including sharing equipment to douse fires.

Gen Prayut also called on firefighters to be cautious about combatting bush fires. In the areas where fires are raging, they should consider making buffer zones to defend wildlife, he noted.

“As for those who start the fires, they must face prosecution as they violated the law,” said Gen Prayut.

According to the premier, the government has devised several measures to combat haze, including seeking cooperation from companies to refrain from buying crops from farmers who encroach on forest land or conduct inappropriate farming practices.

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said the number of bush fires in the nine northern provinces dropped from almost 2,000 on April 2 to around 300 on Tuesday.

“Well, cooperation has been given by local people overall, but some residents are still setting fires in the forest, so a better understanding must be created and this may take time,” said Gen Anupong.

Meanwhile, 15 tampons have joined a campaign to prepare for the impact of global warming.

Eight tambon administrative organizations (TAO) recently signed an agreement to develop a learning center for environmental management and global warming mitigation at a tourist service center in Chiang Rai’s Thoeng district.

These TAOs are from Si Sa Ket, Ubon Ratchathani, Chaiyaphum, Udon Thani, Chiang Mai, Prachin Buri, and Chiang Rai. Another seven TAOs, which had earlier participated in the campaign, was also present.

They formed part of a network called “Smart Camp: Smart Network: Smart Community” operating under the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth).


buffer: a thing or person that reduces a shock or protects somebody/something against difficulties – ตัวกัน

counterpart (noun): someone who has the same job or purpose as another person, but in a different country, time, situation or organization – คนที่อยู่ในตำแหน่งเดียวกันของอีกประเทศ หรือ กลุ่มหนึ่ง

diminish: to gradually become less – ลดลง, อ่อนแรง

douse (verb): to pour a lot of liquid over somebody/something; to soak somebody/something in liquid สาดน้ำหรือของเหลว, จุ่มในของเหลว – สาดน้ำหรือของเหลว, จุ่มในของเหลว

encroach: to gradually enter, cover or take control of more and more of an area of land or sea – บุกรุก, ล่วงล้ำ

haze: water, smoke or dust in the air that makes it difficult to see clearly – หมอกควัน

mitigate: to make something less harmful or serious – บรรเทา

mitigation: a reduction in the harmful effects of something – การบรรเทา  การผ่อนคลาย

wreaking havoc: causing something bad to happen in a violent and often uncontrolled way – ทำให้เกิด ความเสียหายอย่างรุนแรง, ทำให้เกิดความหายนะ


Responders Quickly Extinguish One of Korea’s Largest Wildfires

Responders Quickly Extinguish One of Korea’s Largest Wildfires

Two people are dead and hundreds displaced after a massive fire swept through several towns in South Korea’s northeastern Gangwon province last week. The blaze was extinguished within a few days thanks to quick action from emergency responders, despite high winds that hindered the use of firefighting helicopters and helped the fire spread more quickly.

Authorities are calling this one of the largest fires in South Korean history – it destroyed at least 470 homes, almost 200 warehouses, and dozens of farms, and killed more than 41,000 livestock. One person died from the fire and one was killed after being struck by debris. Investigators believe the fire began from a transformer spark in the evening of April 5. Local firefighters, South Korean soldiers, and even American service members stationed nearby quickly jumped in to fight the flames, bringing the bulk of the fire under control within a few days.

With the fire extinguished, the region is now shifting to recovery. President Moon Jae-in declared a state of emergency on Saturday to provide extra emergency funding for the area, and Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon told ministers not to hesitate in devoting more resources to the region as they start the rebuilding process. Disaster management was one of Moon’s 12 main pledges during his presidential campaign, and he has made a swift response to emergencies a cornerstone of his plan to build a “Safe South Korea.”

Moon pledged to restore Gangwon province’s forests as soon as possible and to fund prevention efforts to deter future fires. “Gangwon province experiences fires year by year, so in order to fight wildfires we need to build forest roads and procure needed helicopters,” Moon said, referring to roads that could provide obstacles and slow the spread of large wildfires among Gangwon’s extremely flammable pine forests. Although emergency responders stopped the massive fire’s spread quite quickly, people still pointed out room for improvement for the future. Because of the poor weather conditions, particularly high winds, South Korea’s fleet of firefighting helicopters was grounded for extended periods of time. And major broadcasters have drawn criticism for failing to provide sign language interpretation during emergency broadcasts about the blaze. Activists gathered this week for a rally and submitted a petition to South Korea’s National Human Rights Commission calling for required sign language translation for TV programs, particularly during emergencies. Others have pointed out the need to address some of the factors that may have exacerbated the problem before it even started, including droughts and other climate change-related issues.

Meanwhile, the Korean public has stepped up to help those affected by the devastating blaze. According to the Chosun Ilbo, donations to two major disaster relief agencies topped 10 billion won ($8.8 million) as of April 8. In particular, celebrities have stepped up to raise awareness, with singers like Psy and IU personally donating 100 million won ($88,000) each to the relief effort.

One of the biggest ongoing concerns is whether the Gangwon region, famous for hiking and beaches, will rebuild in time for the lucrative tourist season. To help encourage tourists to visit the province, Korail is offering30 percent off train tickets to the area on their new Gangneung Line, which was completed last year ahead of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Korail is also providing free train tickets to anyone who has volunteered with the recovery effort.

Despite some clear room for improvement, quick action from local emergency responders prevented one of Korea’s largest wildfires from being even more destructive. As victims and volunteers continue the cleanup and rebuilding effort, the focus will turn to ensure the flow of government and public support into the region and prevention efforts aimed at stopping the next fire before it starts.

Jenna Gibson is a doctoral student in political science at the University of Chicago and a Korea blogger for The Diplomat. You can find her on Twitter at @jennargibson.


PM 2.5 in the West Kalimantan on the 8 – 9 April 2019

PM 2.5 in the West Kalimantan on the 8 – 9 April 2019 Source: Based…