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Causes

According to the official statistics collected by the Forest Fire Control Division of the Royal Forest Department since 1985, there was very few number of nature-caused fires recorded. Therefore generally speaking all fires are man-caused, especially by the rural people who live in or adjacent to forests. The statistics revealed the various reasons for setting fire and their average percentage as follows:

- Gathering of forest non-timber products: This includes all rural people who traverse the forest during the dry season mainly for collecting forest products such as fuel wood, bamboo, honey, mushrooms, etc. These people mainly set fire to clear out litter, grass, and undergrowth on the surface floor in order to make travelling and collecting such products more convenient .

- Agricultural debris burning: To prepare agricultural land after harvesting, farmers traditionally set fires without any control, to eliminate the residue, and the fire escapes into the nearby forest. This cause is very serious in areas where shifting cultivation is still widely practiced .

- Incendiary fire: Attempt of rural people to convert forest into cultivation land and when there is a conflict taking place between rural people and forest officers .

- Hunting: In pursuing small game, rural people set fire to drive the animals from their hiding places .

- Carelessness: Mainly from camping fire and cigarette butts from tourists as well as local people.

- Illegal logging: Carelessly burning forest during their illegal operation.

- Cattle raise: Burning the open forest in order to produce new and tender shoot of grass to feed livestock.

- Unidentified causes: There is no clue for tracing the cause.
 

Table 4. Causes of forest fire

Causes

Average from 1985-1997(%)

Average from 1998-2002(%)

1. Gathering forest non-timber products

26

35

2. Agricultural debris burning

18

17

2. Incendiary fire

17

9

4. Carelessness

16

2

5. Hunting

15

22

6. Illegal logging

-

3

7. Cattle raise

-

2

8. Unidentified causes

8

10

Total

100

100

[Type and Duration] [Causes][Annual burnt areas][Fire Impacts]