The Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation has announced a plan to conduct cloud-seeding operations from March 11-13 as part of efforts to contain out-of-control forest fires in the western part of the country.
Atthaphon Charoenchansa, Director-General of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, said the announcement follows recent reports of hotspots being detected in the forests north of the Srinagarind Dam in Kanchanaburi province.
According to Atthaphon, the fires have now spread to the dry evergreen woodland, which is only accessible after several hours of trekking through the forests. Despite the assistance of several helicopters, officials said the fires continue to intensify and that the situation now requires more effective measures, such as rainmaking flights to contain or even put out certain hotspots.
With the fires causing significant damage to the environment and posing a threat to public health, Atthaphon urged villagers and local farmers to refrain from starting fires on their lands in order to help ease the situation.
The Pollution Control Department reported that PM2.5 dust levels in 69 areas in Bangkok and its suburbs, as well as in 48 provinces, have already exceeded safety levels.
In the north, PM2.5 was measured on March 8 at between 65-137 microns, which is higher than Thailand’s 50-micron safety level. In other regions, PM2.5 readings ranged from 48-170 microns in the northeast, 50-98 microns in the central and western regions, 59-86 microns in the east, 17-33 microns in the south, and 55-131 in Greater Bangkok. (NNT)