Chiang Mai’s governor flew through the region’s polluted skies as he surveyed efforts to control illegal fires.
Charoen Sanguansat was joined by Deputy Gov. Nattapol Naradisorn and Somboon Teerabandit, director of the Chiang Natural Resources and Environment Department, on the Feb. 1 helicopter ride over Weing Hang and Kanlayanee Wattana districts to see the smoke and smog up close.
The provincial leaders met with local officials and police to discuss policies and listen to problems about enforcing rules against field burning and forest fires and the hazards posed by particulate matter 2.5 microns or smaller that is released in smoke.
Chiang Mai this year is targeting a 25 percent decrease from the 22,000 hotspots reported last year affecting nearly 1.4 million rai of forest land.
Charoen claimed the province achieved its goal in January with 900 hotspots reported versus 2,000 in the same month last year.
The governor said the region’s “fuel management” plan splits the area into north and south zones, with management in the southern area set for January and February and the north during March and April.
In northern Weing Hang and Kanlayanee Wattana districts, fuel management will start next month. Those wanting to burn agricultural waste must register with local governments and burn only specified days from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.