Fire Destroyed Thousands of Rai of Forest at Phu Kradueng

Park rangers extinguish wildfire at Phu Kradueng National Park on Feb. 16, 2020. Photo: Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation / Facebook
Park rangers extinguish wildfire at Phu Kradueng National Park on Feb. 16, 2020. Photo: Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation / Facebook

LOEI — A wildfire that scorched thousands of rai at a popular national park was extinguished on Monday morning, a local forest official said.

About 3,400 rai (544 hectare) of forest and bush at Phu Kradueng National Park in the northeastern province of Loei was devastated by the fire, chief of the park Sombat Pimprasit said. Firefighters reportedly spent 15 hours battling the blaze.

“The fire has been completely put under control,” Sombat said. “It broke out at Sum Khon Daeng scenic point around 2 kilometers from the cliff, but with strong winds and dry ground, it spread across the fire barrier to areas around the cliff.”

Although rumors floated online that a lit cigarette butt ignited the flames, Sombat said it was too early to establish the cause of fire, the first such incident to erupt in the national park in years.

More than 100 forest rangers and local volunteers rushed to the scene to douse the fire. The park opens as usual today. No injuries or property damages were reported.

The fire drew much concern and sympathy from netizens, with hashtag #SavePhuKradueng soared to top trending on Thai Twitter Monday morning.

Phu Kradueng National Park spans over a 348 square kilometers mesa rising about 1,000 meters high above the surrounding valleys.