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Chiang Mai Citylife > Articles > SuperBee invites you to join them in supporting fire fighters

SuperBee invites you to join them in supporting fire fighters

On the other side of Doi Suthep on the 1269 road there is a fire station servicing the area from the Canal Road in Hang Dong all the way to Samoeng. Doi Pui and Doi Suthep have been smouldering now for weeks and there are only 20-50 local volunteers, covering this whole side of the mountain. They have been working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in two shifts to help keep the fires at bay.

To carry out this dangerous job they have small plastic backpacks which they fill with water, a few bamboo brooms and a couple of leaf blowers. One tired guy is wearing a friend’s bike helmet and the rest have on orange vests, like road workers wear. They have been working very hard, without an end in sight, and already seem exhausted.

Across the province firefighting teams have run out of government funding and are relying on donations from individuals and companies to provide the basic needs of food and water to the heroic firefighters.

So far this year five people have been killed fighting the blazes and one firefighting official ended his own life because of the lack of support from above and his inability to serve the people.

Living here we are all used to wearing masks and checking our air quality apps daily to see if it is safe for us to open the windows and for our children to go outside. Even before the Covid-19 lockdown our schools were closed due to the hazardous air.

The smoke has always been a feature of the start of the year in the North of Thailand but it used to only be a problem in February and March, but now it starts in December and doesn’t end until the rain comes, which can be as late as May. Those with the financial means have relocated, and the health of those that remain suffers year after year, along with the economy of Northern Thailand.

We all know that the smoke is bad, we even know why the fires are started: a wide range of reasons including mushrooms, slash and burn agriculture, or unhappy people trying to release their rage by lighting up the mountains.

Despite the best efforts of the public, every year it gets worse. This year Chiang Mai has been number one on the worst air quality charts, more times than we want to remember.

We all know that trying to change minds and traditions is difficult and time consuming and that is why supporting the front-line – the firefighters makes sense in the short-term.

If we cannot stop the causes and prevent the fires then we have to support and invest in the fire fighters. We all rely on them to make the air safe again.

At SuperBee, we are collecting money and buying and delivering supplies to our local firefighting team. Due to Covid-19, getting donations is becoming increasingly difficult but so essential. We buy food from the struggling local shops and restaurants, and deliver it to the firefighters twice a day. For now we are giving warm meals and energy drinks but other ideas are welcome.

Their equipment needs upgrading and replacing. They travel out to fires in the back of a truck and have no helmets and no masks, but continue to work tirelessly to keep us safe.

To contribute, contact firefighters@superbee.me.