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Forest fire torches 15,000 rai

Aug 15. 2012
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By The Nation

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At least 15,000 rai of protected forest land in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung and Songkhla has been destroyed by a fire that authorities say was started by locals who wanted to fish in the peat swamps.

Wildfires were still raging yesterday in the peat-swamp forests in five districts of Nakhon Si Thammarat, especially in Ron Phibun, Chian Yai and Chu-uat. Prolonged drought has made the forests especially susceptible to fire.

Thick smog covers the districts, according to Region 4 Army Deputy Commander Maj-General Kitti Intasorn, who led a helicopter inspection.

The blaze started behind an adjacent palm plantation, he said.

Military personnel deployed into the forests were having great difficulty fighting the fire, Kitti said. It’s also been a struggle to transport water.

Thanakorn Raktham, chief of the Forest Fire Control Division, said officials spotted two new blazes moving toward the Chai Pattana Foundation’s research plantation. Firefighters were trying their best to get ahead of the flames, but have been hampered by gusty winds.

Firefighters were also trying to protect the land under the Support Foundation of Her Majesty the Queen in Chian Yai’s Tambon Mae Chao Yoo Hua.

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