'War room' to aid haze fight

'War room' to aid haze fight

The Royal Forest Department yesterday opened a "war room" in Lampang to help coordinate efforts to combat a forest fire which has caused levels of the ultra-fine PM2.5 dust to spike in the North.

Attapol Charoenchansa, director-general of the RFD, said the centre will act as the "brain" that analyses information gathered from the field and coordinates firefighting efforts between stakeholders and related agencies.

"This year, we will make use of more drones and satellite imagery which can help us better detect and locate fire hot spots," he said at the opening of the war room yesterday.

The centre will monitor forest fires which occur in the northern provinces of Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phayao, Lamphun, Lampang, Phrae and Tak, where the burning of fields combined with the dry weather results in haze that lasts until throughout the first quarter of the year.

Mr Athapol said the local administrative officials have been ordered to assess the scale of the fires in their areas.

Fires affecting less than 100 rai of forests will be handled by the head of local administrative organisations, while fires affecting more than 100 rai and/or fires which have been burning for more than three days will be handled by district chiefs.

Meanwhile, fires burning for more than 15 days are the responsibility of the provincial government.

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