Park fires threaten wild animals

Park fires threaten wild animals

Forest fires were ravaging several parts of Khao Yai National Park in Prachin Buri on Sunday, threatening wild animals in Khao Samor Loon, according to local officials.

At least 10 hot spots were reported on the third day of the wildfires in the province which covered about 12 square kilometres. Strong winds fanned the fires which were spreading in a habitat of wild animals. Khao Yai National Park spans 11 districts in the four provinces of Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachin Buri, Nakhon Nayok and Saraburi.

Led by Metta Pangprasert, director of the bushfire control office, officials from several stations in the park planned to build a buffer zone to prevent the fire from spreading to Khao Samor Poon, the habitat of wild animals including elephants and guars. By the time the team reached the area, the wildfires were spreading and the team had to call on 60 men to help contain them.

Ms Metta said there are several bush fires in Prachin Buri and the biggest is opposite Khao Mod Daeng where the crew was sent on Saturday to build a 2-km buffer zone. She said difficult terrain prevented the crew from going further.

According to Ms Metta, Khao Samor Poon is a dense forest "and it is hard to send in firefighters so the park has asked state agencies to send helicopters to support the firefighting operations.

Meanwhile, forest fires which erupted on the hill near the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School in Nakhon Nayok's Ban Na district were contained yesterday and a buffer zone built around the foothill.

Drones were sent to take pictures of the remaining hot spots after which three planes carrying Firewall II gel were deployed to extinguish the fires seen on the aerial photos. However, due to strong winds, the fires spread to the adjacent hills in tambon Si Kra-ang and tambon Khao Perm in Ban Na district and fire-fighters were trying to combat the blazes.

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