Thailand has closed Phu Chi Fa National Park, located in the northern province of Chiang Rai, due to a fire that spread from Laos into the area.
The Nation Thailand reports that the park’s Chief, Witthaya Buaphol, ordered the closure of the park in Thoeng District, Chiang Rai Province, on Thursday, until further notice.
According to the announcement, the fire that started in Bokeo Province, Laos, spread across a mountain and reached forested areas in the park. The Thai park authorities have said that it would be unsafe for visitors to enter the park at this time and that the park would need restoration after the fire has been extinguished.
In recent weeks, forest fires have spread across both Laos and Thailand as farmers burn forested areas to clear land for planting crops, mainly cassava. This has resulted in a toxic haze, causing health problems for residents across the country, with some provinces in Laos even opting to close schools for a few days.
The tourism sector has also been affected in popular tourist towns like Luang Prabang, with visitors canceling bookings citing health concerns. Some flights to northern Laos have reportedly been delayed or canceled as a result of air pollution as well.
Earlier this month, the northeastern province of Nong Khai in Thailand launched a campaign to spray water to reduce air pollution caused mainly due to crop burning. The Thai government has also requested cooperation from neighboring countries, particularly Myanmar and Laos, to tackle air pollution and crop burning in the region.