A forest lockdown will fuel more fires

With strong wind and fast-approaching forest fires, a group of forest dwellers on Doi Mon Dok mountain in Chiang Mai’s Samoeng District are racing against time to stop the flames from engulfing their village.

“This is the ninth time the fires have erupted near our home,” said Prue Odashao, 49, a Karen grassroots environmentalist and community leader of Ban Pa Ka village. “The forest fires this year are the worst in my lifetime.”

The creeks on the mountains used to serve as fire barriers and a source of water to douse the flames. Not this year. The creeks dried up long before the official hot season began in April, obviously the result of global warming.

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