Thailand's military scrambles to put out fires as burn-offs are banned

Thailand's military scrambles to put out fires as burn-offs are banned

More than 16,000 people in Lampang have undergone treatment for respiratory issues since the smog began affecting the upper North in February, the province's deputy governor said yesterday.

An accumulative number of people sought treatment at hospitals in all 13 Lampang districts, Mongkhol Suksai said.

He said that further measures were being implemented aimed at restoring the province's image as a main tourist attraction in the wake of the smog, caused by annual farm burn-offs.

Army commander General Udomdej Sitabutr said four Army helicopters were being used in an operation that involved extinguishing fires with water.

The announcement of laws outlawing burn-offs in forest areas had been made to residents, he said.

Third Army Area commander Lt-General Sathit Phitrat said operations to combat the problem included extinguishing new hot spots in Mae Hong Son, Nan, Chiang Rai and Phayao. He said two Air Force planes had been used to collect aerial photographs of hot spots and help spread information about the possible legal ramifications of lighting fires.

Sathit said the Air Force had carried out eight daily water-spraying flights since March 6 for a total of 112 flights.

He said there had also been 82 rain-making flights, including eight flights yesterday to Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lampang and Phayao.

A plane involved in that mission skidded off the runway while landing at Chiang Mai airport, resulting in four flights being redirected to Chiang Rai and Phitsanulok.

Chiang Mai airport director Kiattisak Rianwatthana said that the accident was caused by one of the plane's tires exploding.

More about

Purchase this article for republication.



Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.