FOREST fires are raging non-stop at a national park in Chiang Mai’s Hot district today (Feb. 12) leading to the PM2.5 pollution level soaring to 167 micrograms per cubic metre while AQI is as high as 277, TV Channel 7 said.
Chiang Mai Governor Nirat Pongsitthaworn offered a 10,000 baht cash reward to anyone giving information about arsonists in order to improve air pollution. Reports can be filed at the district chief’s office, to the head of the national park or local leaders.
Mr. Suparerk Lertlaksirikul, the head of Op Luang National Park where the illegally-lit forest fires are still burning, issued an order forbidding entry from Feb. 11 to April 30.
Violators face over 100,000 baht fine and those caught starting a fire at a farm or a garden with the flames spreading to the national park’s forest face four to 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine from 400,000 to 2 million baht.
There are 220 fire hotspots in Chiang Mai’s national reserve and conserved forests today with 53 being in Hot district, 21 in Doi Tao, 18 in Mae Chaem, 23 in Omkoi and 30 in Chiang Dao as well as many other districts.
This has led to PM2.5 pollution in Mueang Na subdistrict, Chiang Dao district, reaching 172 ug/m3 with AQI being 282, the highest in the country and affecting health.
At Chang Khoeng subdistrict, Mae Chaem district, PM2.5 is 88 ug/m3 while AQI is 195, also a level that affects health.
A forest fire burning at Op Luang National Park, top, while a helicopter sprays water to help put out the raging blaze, Front Page.
Below: Air pollution in Chiang Mai today, Feb. 12, 2023. All photos: TV Channel 7