Firefighters spent nearly 20 hours battling a raging forest fire that broke out in one of the country’s most popular national parks.
Flames erupted Sunday morning at the Mesa Cliff viewpoint in the Phu Kradueng National Park in Loei province. From there, they spread across the area, drawing more than 100 park rangers and volunteers to battle the blaze with tractors and four water trucks.
It was eventually brought under control at about dawn this morning after over 3,000 rai (480 hectare) of parkland was scorched, according to park chief Sombat Pimprasit.
Despite speculation it might have been sparked by human activity, such as a reckless tourist’s cigarette, the authorities have yet to conclude what caused the fire, Sombat said.
The incident met a sad reaction online, where #SavePhuKradueng was trending Monday morning on Twitter.
“The death of forests is the end of our life. | Get well soon,” Twitter user @Peachsy_ wrote.
“Seeing the wildfire photos, I’m hurt. I love Phu Kradueng so much. No matter how tired I was, but when I saw the view, the trees and nature up there, it’s so worth it,” another Twitter user, @Cincin_aka, wrote. “Hope the fire is put out soon. Rain, rainstorm or anything, please help extinguish the fire.”
Phu Kradueng National Park is the second oldest national park in Thailand, after Khao Yai. It’s best known to Thais as a place couples can prove their “true love” by successfully hiking together and has been marketed as a Valentine’s Day destination.