30,000 early hotspots as heat rises
Almost 30,000 hotspots have been detected nationwide since the beginning of this year as the country approaches peak summer months, satellite images showed.
Data from the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (Gistda) for the Jan 1 to Saturday period showed a total of 28,364 hotspots, comprising 11,609 in the Northeast, 10,669 in the North and 6,086 in the Central Plains.
The agency said Suomi NPP satellite images on Saturday showed 351 hotspots nationwide, including 158 at national forest reserves, 119 at conservation forest areas, 37 at agricultural areas, 19 at community and other areas, 15 at Sor Por Kor agricultural land areas and three along highways.
The figures indicate a decline in the number of hotspots due to recent thunderstorms during the period.
However, the number of hotspots is still high across the north, especially in Mae Hong Son, Phrae and Chiang Mai, matching a previous assessment of wildfire-prone areas from March 14–20, the agency said.
Meanwhile, Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa has beefed up protocols for tackling forest fires and smog in 17 northern provinces despite the declining number of hotspots.
Mr Varawut says state agencies must apply the latest lessons learned during operations to prevent forest fire and smog.
The Suomi NPP satellite images taken on Saturday showed Myanmar had the most hotspots with 4,953, while Vietnam had 325 hotspots.
Mr Varawut said he has told the Pollution Control Department to work with neighbouring countries to ensure they stay in line with an Asean transboundary haze agreement aiming to reduce hotspots in the region by 20%.