Firefighters, helicopter battling huge forest fire near military academy
Firefighters were still battling on Thursday morning to put out a forest fire that engulfed a mountain and forest in Khao Laem, Nakhon Nayok.
The Centre of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation and other agencies are collaborating in a desperate effort to stop the blaze from spreading to other areas including Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy. Firefighters and workers are now creating fire breaks to halt or at least slow the inferno’s progress.
Reports that a fire had broken out on Khao Chaphlu Mountain in Prommanee, Muang district emerged at noon on Wednesday. The steep mountain terrain prevented firefighters from reaching the blaze, which quickly spread to the adjacent Khao Laem forested area.
Dramatic images showing the mountain ablaze with orange flames against the black sky appeared on Wednesday night.
Nakhon Nayok governor Bancha Chaowarin asked Prachinburi Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Centre to send a Russian-made KA-32 helicopter to dump water on the forest fires on Thursday morning.
He urged desperate locals to stay patient, explaining that it would be too dangerous for the firefighters to work at night.
The governor instructed local officials to warn people in their areas to beware of smoke inhalation and avoid going outdoors for extended periods.
The Prachinburi centre also sent firefighters, fire trucks, water trucks and boom lift trucks to help distinguish fires that are threatening Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, which is located near the Khao Laem forest.
Lieutenant General Piyapong Klinphan, commander of the academy, said the fire had reached a forested area around 600 metres behind an academy building but had yet to cause any damage to the facility.
He said firefighters from nearby districts and provinces have made a firebreak to prevent the flames from spreading to academy buildings.
Officials believe the fire was started by lightning strikes from a summer storm over the Khao Yai National Park in Nakhon Nayok’s northeastern area on Tuesday evening. Lightning has reportedly caused fires in several mountainous areas of Prommanee and nearby subdistricts of Sarika and Khao Phra.