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Thick Haze from Agricultural Fires in Thailand

18.4N 98.4E

April 9th, 2013 Category: Fires

Thailand and Myanmar – April 8th, 2013

Agricultural fires burning across Thailand create a thick haze over the country and its neighbors, including Myanmar. The Thai government is stepping up efforts to fight forest fires and haze pollution by applying stricter law enforcement, especially during the critical period from January to April. Haze pollution can cause such health hazards as respiratory problems and heart, eye, and skin diseases.

The measures in 2013 have been switched from the focus on “burning control” to “no burning.” The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has set the period from 21 January to 10 April 2013 to prohibit burning in all forest areas. Campaigns have also been launched to encourage local people to stop all kinds of burning in the forest. Thailand will seek cooperation from Laos and Myanmar in controlling forest fires along border areas.

The Department of Land Development is launching a campaign for agricultural leftovers to be plowed under, instead of being burned. The campaign is a new measure to combat the smoke haze problem, while increasing soil fertility. Efforts will be made to provide farmers with knowledge about how to turn weed into biogas and electricity, so that it will not be burned and create haze pollution.

Apart from hot dry weather, the burning of solid waste and agricultural materials in open areas has been cited as a major cause of forest fires. Another cause involves the slash-and-burn farming technique employed by farmers to clear land in forested areas (click here for more information).

Smoke and Haze Over Laos and Thailand

18.6N 99.2E

April 16th, 2012 Category: Fires

Myanmar - April 14th, 2012

Sediments can be observed in the Gulf of Martaban, in southern Myanmar, in the lower part of this image. Visible to the east and northeast, over parts of Thailand and Laos is a smoky haze, probably caused by agricultural fires. The smoke extends northward towards the southern border of China.

Hazy Skies and Fires Near the Tonlé Sap in Southeast Asia

April 28th, 2010 Category: Fires, Lakes

Cambodia and Thailand - March 5th, 2010

Cambodia and Thailand - March 5th, 2010

This image of Southeast Asia includes parts of Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. Upon opening the full image, some fires are visible southwest of the  Tonlé Sap, a large lake in Cambodia. Some smoky haze from other fires in the region can also be observed in the upper left quadrant.

The Tonlé Sap, appearing tan and green from sediments, here, is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, occupying a large depression. It is part of a combined lake and river system that is particular in that its flow changes direction twice a year.

Fires in Thailand and Myanmar

13.8N 100.8E

March 11th, 2010 Category: Fires

Thailand - March 5th, 2010

Thailand - March 5th, 2010

Several fires are visible in Thailand (center) and Myanmar (left), with smoke creating a hazy effect over much of those countries and their eastern neighbor, Cambodia. As we have observed in other articles published this week, hundreds of blazes in Southeast Asia were creating a veil of smoke over much of that region, including Laos and Cambodia.

Many of these fires, common during the Southeast Asia late dry season, may be agricultural, set to clear crops or pastures. Others may have been started in that manner and then accidentally spread to forest land.

Extremely Smokey Skies Over Laos

20.0N 102.2E

March 10th, 2010 Category: Fires

Laos - March 5th, 2010

Laos - March 5th, 2010

Most of the terrain of Laos is veiled by smoke, particularly in the valleys between mountains and hills. The smoke is from hundreds of fires in Southeast Asia, in Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar.

Although the number of fires may seem high, widespread blazes occur frequently in this region at this time of year – the late dry season. The fires generating large amounts of smoke could have been set intentionally to clear forest, or be agricultural fires that have accidentally spread into forested areas.