As fires spread in North, pollution levels spiral

Public cautioned to respect burning ban 

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Air pollution in northern Lampang and Phayao provinces escalated to hazardous levels yesterday as fires spread in the region.

The PM10 level stood at between 81 and 104 microgrammes per cubic metre, up from Sunday’s readings, according to information provided by the Pollution Control Department’s (PCD) measuring stations in Lampang’s Muang and Mae Mo districts.

Though the levels were still under the safe limit of 120 ug/m³, officials said they were treating the situation seriously as dust levels continue to rise.

Forest fires are a major cause of fine dust, or particulate matter known as PM10. These particles are less than 10 microns in diameter — or about 1/7th as thick as a human hair. PM10 can trigger asthma attacks, cause or aggravate bronchitis and other lung diseases, and reduce the body’s ability to fight infections, according to information from the PCD.

Hazy conditions in the North have been blamed on fires tied to agricultural burning practices and the extreme dryness seen from February to April, when rainfall is less common.

The situation in Lampang deteriorated Monday as brush fires in Chae Som forest reserve kept expanding, Ronnarong Koetnuan, head of the reserve’s fire-forest prevention unit, told media outlets.

So far, 59 rai have been ravaged, including forest areas inside the Doi Phra Bat wildlife sanctuary and Mae Suk-Mae Soi forest reserve in Muang Pan district. Mr Ronnarong pointed an accusing finger at…

via As fires spread in North, pollution levels spiral | Bangkok Post: news

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