The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment wants to impose a strict ban on fires in nine provinces in the North during a critical 60-day period designated by local administrators, as part of an action plan that requires approval from the Cabinet.
Pollution Control Department deputy chief Suwit Kattiyavong said yesterday Lampang province had already suffered smog this month in excess of the legal limit on forest fire-triggered dust less-than-10-microns in size. Muang district reported 122 micrograms per cubic metre, while Mae Mo district had 127 micrograms per cubic metre.
The smoke and dust problem usually plagues the North from January to April, he said adding that the ministry and related agencies were working together to formulate a 120-day action plan to tackle the problem, which would need approval from the Cabinet.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has joined with the Royal Forestry Department in using a GPS technology to find forest fire coordinates. So far officials have found that 30 per cent of such fires are lit to clear farmland.