Hundreds of fire fighters from Thailand’s northern provinces are now in Chiang Mai to help in combating forest fires in numerous areas, most lately in the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park.
Fires were reported to have started last night in the park, in an area between Ban Pong sub-district in Hang Dong district and Mae Hia sub-district of Mueang district.
It is not known how the fires started, but they are being fanned by strong winds and are spreading rapidly. Park officials admit that it is difficult for firefighters, many of whom are volunteers, to control the fires because of the steep terrain.
The Chiang Mai-based Protected Areas Regional Office 16 has asked for helicopters to support the firefighters on the ground.
In the meantime, it is reported that fire fighters have managed to extinguish all the forest fires in Pha Daeng National Park in Chiang Dao district, after five days of almost non-stop efforts. Firebreaks have been built in vulnerable areas and all outsiders are now prohibited from entering the park.
Officials at Doi Luang Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary have been placed on alert to keep watch on bushfires whereas, in Mae Takhrai National Park on the border between Mae On and San Kamphaeng districts, fires have been brought under control and are expected to be extinguished today (Friday).
In Si Lanna National Park, firefighters have succeeded in controlling fires in eight locations, leaving a ninth blaze, which remains out of control because it is deep in the jungle and the only effective way to extinguish it is to drop water from a helicopter.
Due to the fact there are hundreds of firefighters from other provinces working in Chiang Mai, the provincial administration is seeking public donations for drinking water food and face masks for them.