Drought conditions bring increased risk of forest fires, air pollution

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Bangkok – The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation has declared a total of 13 districts of five provinces, namely Roi Et, Sri Saket, Nakhon Ratchasima, Trat and Chonburi, as drought-hit areas.

In the northern regions, hot spots and airborne particulate matter have risen again and a recent forest fire in Phrae province damaged 1,500 rai of land before authorities were able to bring the blaze under control.

Airborne dust and pollution in the nine northern provinces was reported by the Department of Pollution Control’s Air4thai website in a range of 51 to 205 micrograms per cubic meter with the highest, red-zone hot spot reported in Tambon Chong Kham in the capital district of Mae Hong Son where the particulate matter has remained at a health-affecting level.

The Department of Groundwater Resources Director General, Kusol Chotirat, confirmed that preparations have been made for the inspection into the conditions of groundwater wells, water pumps, waterworks and water quality improvement systems in the face of the current drought. A total of 132 permanent water distribution spots have been set up to provide clean drinking water while 737 groundwater wells are being excavated this month in areas which might suffer a lack of water. Nakharat units and trucks equipped with the water quality improvement systems have been deployed to make clean drinking water for villagers in drought-hit areas.