Forest Fire in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park

 | Mon 9 May 2016 03:57 ICT

CityNews РOver 100 firefighters and numerous other officials and emergency service crews spent all of Sunday night (May 8th) and Monday morning fighting a massive fire that spread through the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, shocking residents of Chiang Mai who could see the flames and smoke from across the city.

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Photo by Jk Onemillion, shared on Raks Mae Ping Facebook Page.

The fire began around 2pm on May 8th before expanding and becoming out of control by 5pm when the first fire crews were called to the scene and the first news reports came in.

By 10pm the same evening, the fire had grown to cover well over 10 rai of land and was showing no signs of stopping.

The fire was very hard to control and extinguish as it was deep in the jungle where fire engines and water hoses could not access. As a result, fire crews had to enter the jungle on foot and use dirt to try and extinguish the fire while they waited for the fire to slowly burn towards accessible areas where they could then use water to extinguish the flames.

By around 1am on Monday morning (May 9th) the fire was almost completely extinguished, but following the latest reports, fire crews remained on hand for several more hours to ensure the fire was completely extinguished and to evaluate the damage caused by the fire.

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It has yet to be confirmed how the fire was started, but netizens were almost unanimous in blaming illegal forest burning by locals.

Local authorities called on residents of the area to be aware of the fire, that was moving towards small villages in Chang Khian, at the foothills of the mountain. People at 700 years stadium shared images of the fire no more than 1 kilometre away from the outer perimetre fence.

People were also asked to help the fire crews and the other authorities involved by donating food and water to the wildfire office of Doi Suthep, resulting in hundreds of people donating packages of water and food.

Authorities have yet to announce the official cause of the fire, or who may be responsible, but Narong Tananuwat, former president of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, said that is was most likely due to illegal burning by locals looking for wild produce such as mushrooms and wild animals.

Social media was abuzz on Sunday night with news of the fire, Review Chiang Mai had nearly 10,000 likes, CM108, a popular online news site had over 8000 shares by Monday morning, Raks Mae Ping social activism page had 1,400 likes and over 400 shares.

Photo album courtesy of CM108