Chiang Mai kicks off campaign to tackle wild fires and smoke

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In a bid to combat the annual smoke that plagues Chiang Mai and the North the 3rd Army Commander and Director of the Regional Wildfire and Smoke Prevention Center launched the campaign to combat fires.

Lt. Gen. Wijak Siribansob chaired the opening ceremony of the annual event where he was joined by Chiang Mai Governor Pawin Chamniprasart, Lt. Gen. Thana Jaruwat of the Center, and Mae Rim District Officer Padsadej Hongladrom.

Four sets of firefighting equipment were given to the Chairman of the Mae Rim Sub-district headmen and Village headman organization, as well as to the Pong Yang Sub-district headman, Pong Yang Sub-district Mayor and Don Kaew Sub-district Mayor.

Additionally the event was held to bring together all elements of the campaign to fight fires including local administration organizations and Chiang Mai residents to learn more about the problems of smoke and wildfires. The campaign includes education about the dangers of wildfire and smoke to health and attempts to create participation at the local level in reducing the problem.

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The 3rd Corps Commander as Director of Reginal Wildfire and Smoke Prevention and Solution Center said that despite having water sources the regions faces fires and smoke every year from February to April resulting in damage to the environment and health of the residents. Usually it is caused by human activity; burning agriculture waste, grass on the side of the roads and in the forest. This often spreads and ends up out of control. He added that less than 30 percent of the smoke came from neighboring countries. He said that wildfire and smoke can be controlled and reduced by a strong campaign for awareness and raising participation by government, private, and people by stopping all kinds of behaviors that cause wildfire and smoke. He added that although, wildfire and smoke was under control last year to satisfactory levels, this year it is a concern and all sectors must be ready to fight any wildfires immediately.

The Center is in charge of planning and controlling 14 public campaigns to combat wildfires and smoke in cooperation with the government and local administration organizations to solve the problem in the nine Northern provinces. The Army is following HM Queen Sirikit’s royal command concerning people in the North that are suffering and being affected by wildfire and smoke. In addition, Her Majesty wants everyone to commit to cooperate to solve and reduce the problems.