A satellite has detected more than one hundred hot spots in Chiang Mai Province, most of which are on steep hills in forest conservation areas.
Most of the hot spots were found in Sansai, Mae Chaem and Doi Saket districts. The areas are among the controlled zones which are prohibited from outdoor burning during the dry season, beginning on 1st March. The Chiang Mai governor recently announced a ban on any type of burning for sixty days in order to prevent forest fires and smog. Farmers in the area are suspected of speeding up burning to dispose of agricultural debris and to clear the land for the next round of planting before the burning ban begins on Monday.
The local forest fire control station has sent out firefighters to control fires in the forest, but many spots were inaccessible due to the distance and geographical conditions.
The local administration has asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment to send helicopters to spray water over the inaccessible areas to control the situation, allowing more room and safety for firefighters on the ground to do their work. The operation has continued throughout the weekend. (NNT)