Environmental expert claims Chiang Mai has the worst forest fires in 30 years

A renowned Thai environment expert has claimed that Chiang Mai is currently suffering its worst fires in 30 years.

The claim comes from Mr. Sonthi Kochawat, a health expert who specializes in studying pollution and provides advice to the Thailand Environment Institute. Mr. Kochawat holds a degree in environmental science and is the Director of the System Development and Monitoring Group – Environmental Impact at the Office of Policy and Planning.

Along with the 30 year claims, Mr. Kochawat also said that northern provinces, especially Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son have increasing numbers of respiratory disease cases that are sometimes indistinguishable from COVID-19.

For the cause of the fires, Mr. Kochawat interestingly noted that one cause may be due to unclear government policies including separating forest areas from some people in some areas and as well as conflicts between government agencies and citizens who use forest areas.

The claims come as the Chiang Mai Data Center issued a warning this morning, April 7 that the smog levels continued to rise with many hotspots detected within Thailand and neighboring countries.

The center advised people to not partake in any outdoor activities and to protect themselves with a dust-proof hygienic mask.

Photo: Chiang Mai Data Center