Aerial support called in to douse forest fires

Aerial support called in to douse forest fires

20 August 2012

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Thailand– Officials say blaze could take days to extinguish

Fires raging at Pa Phru Kuan Kreng in Nakhon Si Thammarat could take several days to bring under control, the provincial governor says.

Nakhon Si Thammarat governor Viroj Jiwarangsan expressed confidence in a speedy dousing operation after the province’s fire control operation received aerial support from the Natural Resources and Environment and Agriculture and Cooperative ministries.

The ministries have sent helicopters to identify hotspots at Pa Phru Kuan Kreng, a peat swamp forest ravaged by the fires, Mr Viroj said.

The governor, provincial red cross chairwoman Wanee Jiwarangsan and Chian Yai district chief Pitak Boripit yesterday inspected the fire control operation in tambon Karaket of Chian Yai district. They also distributed relief items sent by the Fourth Army to help combat the fires to 2,000 forestry officials and soldiers.

The province will set up a donation centre today to receive goods from the public, Mr Viroj said. The donated items will be given to officials involved in the fire control operation.

The Office of the Royal Development Projects Board and other agencies will meet on Thursday to work out a long-term plan to prevent forest fires at the peat swamp forest.

The fire situation improved yesterday after an artificial rain-making operation brought downpours to Chalerm Prakiart district on Saturday, he said.

Narathorn Kaewplab, head of the Phatthalung Botany Park, yesterday took 100 military engineers, forestry and municipal officials to build firebreaks at Pa Phru Ton Samet Khao, a peat swamp hit by forest fires in Phatthalung province.

The fires have ravaged the forest for three weeks. Almost 200 rai of forest at three locations have been damaged.

About 300 more forestry officials from the North will be sent to help combat the fires, he said.

Meanwhile, a logging suppression team yesterday seized about 10,000 logs of Samet Khao wood from Khlong Kong reserve forest in Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Chalerm Prakiart district while the team was surveying fire-gutted spots at Pa Phru Khuan Kreng forest.

Supachok Prampoon, head of the team, said his team spotted about five people moving logs out of the reserve.

When they spotted the officials, the loggers fled into the jungles, leaving piles of logs behind.

Officials found a bag containing two bank account documents bearing the name of Ms Jiraporn Makeao, a resident of Chian Yai district of Nakhon Si Thammarat, and a list of 10 people apparently wanting to purchase logs from the woman, Mr Supachok said.




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