An arsonist suspected of starting forest fires in Thailand’s northern province of Lampang has been taken into custody by Police and forest rangers. Forest rangers have suspicions he started fires in the Mae Jang forest reserve.
The suspect, Mr. Udomsilp Thithamma, was arrested at his shelter in the compound of the Silasin Lampang Company rock crushing plant. Three sets of mosquito repellent sticks bound with matches were found in his shelter during a raid.
The suspect reportedly claimed that they were intended for burning grass and shrubs on his farm land.
Forest Department director-general Atthaphol Charoenchansa told Thai media that officials had been tipped off by villagers that the suspect had allegedly set fires at several locations in the Mae Jang forest reserve, damaging about 16 hectares of forest.
Furthermore he added that officials had dismissed the suspect’s claim and are investigating whether others are involved.
A conviction for setting fire to forests is subject to a prison term of up to 20 years. And/or a maximum fine of two million baht.
Despite prohibitions on agricultural burning, wildfires continued ravaging forests across Thailand, especially in the North. The hard-hit area is Lampang province, where fires continued ravaging national park and wildlife sanctuary areas.
Lampang’s provincial governor says that despite the fires, levels of PM2.5 have remained normal. However he expects them to rise again in the coming week. Officials of the Doi Pha Mueang Wildlife Sanctuary in Lampang say the forest fires also wiped out 13 Rai of forest in a single day.
Including seven Rai of in conservation areas of Tham Pha Thai National Park.