Thailand’s Centre for Air Pollution Mitigation has asked the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to close eight national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in 17 northern provinces, in a bid to control the increasing number of forest fires.

Pollution Control Department Director-General Pinsak Suraswadi said that the closures will allow officials to work with greater flexibility and efficiency to control the hotspots, which are mostly being detected in forest reserves.

The closures affect Nam Pai, Om Koi and Pa Mae Tuen wildlife sanctuaries and Pha Daeng, Tham Pha Thai, Ob Luang, Mae Ping and Si Nan national parks.

He said, however, that tourist areas which are safe will not be closed.

Pinsak disclosed that 793 hotspots were detected today (Thursday), about 93% of which are in forest reserves and conserved forests. He added that a survey, conducted between January 1st and February 15th, shows that the PM2.5 problem and hotspots in 17 northern provinces are expected to be worse than in the past two years, due to the dry weather and economic development.

Average PM2.5 levels in the past 24 hours has increased 67%, while the hotspots in 17 northern provinces have increased by about 118% in the 24-hour period.



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