smoke from forest fires forced several airlines to cancel or postpone
domestic flights to Chiang Mai and neighbouring Mae Hong Son provinces
yesterday. Several flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai were cancelled
due to thick smoke shrouding northern provinces. Some Mae Hong Son-bound
flights from Bangkok were delayed.
Chaichiangpin, of the Chiang Mai-based Northern Meteorological Centre,
said the situation in several northern provinces was getting worse.
Visibility was down to 1,500 metres in Chiang Mai, 1,000 metres
in Chiang Rai and only 900 metres in Mae Hong Son. Such poor visibility
posed a risk to flights in and out of the affected provinces, she
said. Satellite images showed thick smoke has blanketed wide areas
in the North, especially Chiang Mai where bushfires and weed-burning
have been blamed for causing the haze. Forest fires have also been
spotted near remote northern areas bordering Laos and Burma.
called on residents to stop burning garbage or weeds as the smoke
would hamper artificial rain-making operations, set to start this
week, which it is hoped will help tackle the haze.
Some residents of these northern provinces have complained of respiratory
problems from the smoke.
In Chiang Rai, residents have been staying indoors as much as possible,
due to thick haze that has been covering large parts of the province
for the past week. People living in municipal areas have complained
of sore eyes due to the smoke.
chief of Chiang Rai's Mae Lao district, yesterday joined 500 residents
and local leaders in an oath-taking ceremony swearing they would
not cause bushfires. Forest fires were yesterday reported near the
Burmese town of Tachilek opposite Mae Sai in Chiang Rai district.
People living along the border have sought medical treatment for
smoke-inflicted ailments Vichai Thaweepvoradet, mayor of Mae Sai
tambon municipality, said the thick smoke has badly affected tourism
and cross-border trade between Tachilek and Mae Sai.
Chiang Rai authorities
have threatened to get tough on anyone found lighting forest fires,
with the situation in the province becoming critical. So far this
year, Chiang Rai has seen the highest number of forest fires in