Wildfires persist in various regions of the North and in the southern district of Yala province, adversely impacting both areas with the haze produced by the fires. In Betong, the southernmost district of Yala, thick haze enveloped several parts of the town, leading to eye irritation and respiratory issues among local residents.
Local officials issued a warning, advising the public to wear face masks for protection. Visibility was significantly reduced, and motorists were urged to exercise extra caution on the roads. Since Sunday, PM2.5 (fine dust) pollution levels have exceeded the “safety” threshold of 50 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) in Krabi, Satun, and Yala, according to data published on www.airthai.in.th.
Prince of Songkla University’s air pollution and health impact research station reported that average PM2.5 levels in the South have ranged from 50 to 55µg/m3 since Saturday. The primary contributors to the deteriorating air quality include northeast winds carrying haze from the Indian Ocean and parts of Southeast Asian nations such as Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
In the North, multiple wildfires are still active, including in Chiang Rai and Lampang. Since Sunday night, strong winds have exacerbated the situation. In Chiang Rai’s Mae Puem National Park, a wildfire intensified and spread towards an MCOT Plc television tower due to stronger winds. The station staff had to be evacuated while firefighters fought to contain the flames and protect the tower by constructing a firebreak.
Yesterday, wildfires continued in Chiang Rai, with 171 hotspots detected across Muang, Mae Suai, Mae Chan, and Wiang Pa Pao districts. Meanwhile, in Lampang’s Khelang Banphot National Park, a major wildfire has raged for five days, with firefighting efforts appearing to be futile thus far. To assist in containing the blaze, an additional 100 firefighters have been deployed.
Worot Lieocharoensap, the director of the meteorological center in the western South, remarked that the region’s hazy sky problem is attributable to the transition from the dry to the rainy season. This differs from the actual haze situation currently experienced in the North. He expects the weather conditions to persist for another one or two days or until the rain arrives.