Trat wildfires rage on, threatening lives and livelihoods, while central government focuses on debate

Wildfires along the Thai-Cambodian border is severely affecting the population of Trat Province, local authorities told Thai Enquirer on Tuesday.

Thick layers of smoke caused by the fires have been surrounding the southeastern province for the past week.

“Right now the fire isn’t spreading. It’s the smoke that poses as the bigger problem,” said Thitinan Udomsak, head of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation in Trat.

“We are currently waiting for the helicopters from the air force and navy to help us out.”

Fire-fighters have managed to control and stop the blaze in the Laemklad sub-district but the blazes along the area of Bantad mountain range are still raging.

Landmines buried underneath the area during past armed conflicts make it impossible for firefighters to enter and extinguish the flames.

“We are trying to not let the flames and smoke affect the agricultural areas,” said Thithinan.

The governor of Trat has been handing out face masks, encouraging people and local communities in the municipality to protect their health.

But there are not enough face masks to go around, according to local officials.

It is still unclear as to how much longer the flames will last without intervention from the central government but local communities say that they are starting to become severely affected.

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