Chiang Mai haze beyond safety level

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CHIANG MAI, March 17 – Concerned authorities are tightening measures to control open-burning, which they say has caused more than 400 forest fires since February.

Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Chana Pangpibul on Monday met officials concerned to evaluate the provincial smog and haze situation as the level of dust particles measured in the upper Thai North reportedly exceeded safety levels.

Many hotspots have been detected in Chiang Mai’s Omkoi, Mae Chaem, Hot, Chiang Dao and Doi Tao districts. The province has also recorded more than 400 forest fires in February and March. Over 35,000 rai of farmland have been burnt by fires.

The governor instructed all agencies to strictly monitor and control forest fires by prohibiting all open burning as well as spraying water in the air to reduce the dust particle levels and to keep plants moistened. Chiang Mai Municipality has been tasked to turn on the fountains in the provincial seat to increase humidity.

Provincial public health officials are also ready to monitor the health impact among the residents. The haze problem in the province has already started to reach levels causing eye irritation among residents.