Chiang Mai Governor Pawin Chamniprasart visited local government officials in Mae Taeng to discuss solutions to the fire and haze problem that plagues Chiang Mai annually.
The Governor visited the Kuret Chang Municipality and met with Local Administration Organizations, local leaders, Sub-District Headmen, Village Headmen, and volunteers and listened to the obstacles, and scope of work operations. They discussed finding ways to solve the problem in cooperation with the government. The Chiang Mai Governor asked for cooperation from all sectors to reduce smog and wildfire problems.
The 60 day fire ban in 2016 saw the number of hotspots reduced from 1,882 spots to 997 spots or 47.02% change. The number of days when the PM10 levels hit dangerous levels dropped from 17 days from the past year to 14 days, and the highest value of PM10 of the year 2015 which was 299 micrograms per Ccubic meter (on March 17, 2015) reduced to 192 micrograms per cubic meter in 2016 (on March 26, 2016). Police arrested 18 people for fires during the 2016 fire ban period and aircraft were able to take off and land normally. Officials said they feel awareness has grown and more people are working to make it sustainable.
For 2017 the government has appointed a working team of Chiang Mai Smog and Wildfire Problem Solving Center to analyse problem conditions and present solutions to the Chiang Mai Smog and Wildfire Problem Solving Commission. A plan has been created and is divided into three steps including prevention measures taken from November 2016 to February 19, 2017. The second step will be during the fire ban from February 20 – April 20, 2017 by using a single command system to solve smog and wildfire problems. The third step will be to implement sustainable long term solutions using guidelines given by HM King Rama IX, for example, the wet forest, and growing 3 forests and get 4 benefits.
There were 62 hotspots from February 1 – 13, 2017, 28 spots in forest sanctuaries in 8 districts; Mae Chaem had 17 hotspots, Mae Ai had four hotspots, Om Koi had two and Chomthong, Mae Taeng, Mae Wang, Doi Saket, and Prao had one each. There were 16 hotspots in forest conservation areas in six districts; Hod and Chomthong had four hotspots, Mae Chaem had three, Samoeng and Mae Wang had two each and Chiang Dao had one. There were 18 Hotspots in agricultural areas in 9 districts including Mae Chaem which had four, Doi Tao and Chiang Dao had three, Fang and Mae Wang had two, and Doi Lor, Wiang Haeng, Hod and Mae Taeng each had one.