Burning season is finally over in Chiang Mai

in #thailand3 months ago

One of the main complaints you will hear from people living in Chiang Mai is the dreaded burning season. The time of year that it happens is normally the same time of year but I don't feel like I am imagining things when I say that it seems to last longer and longer each year that passes.

This is a time of year where the farmers burn their fields to prepare for the new planting season and mushroom hunters burn the undergrowth in the jungle in search of, you guessed it, mushrooms.

This results in really terrible air quality and an almost dystopian feeling in Chiang Mai because for months at a time we can't even see the sun.


I don't live in the mountains, very few people do here, but you don't need to in order to realize that there is something terribly wrong going on when the sky is grey every single day, all day. Also, if you leave your windows open, which I like to do because Dec to Feb is also the only "cool" time of year that we get here, you will notice that dust particles accumulate in your house very quickly.

I'm not one to jump the gun on health hazards but I don't think there is any denying that breathing this in and out all day long can't possibly be good for you.


You see it all the time, especially at night. This process is technically illegal but the government doesn't appear to do anything about it. From just a few years of living in Chiang Mai I think there are a lot of things that the government knows about but doesn't do anything about and this is just one of them.

Well it was about a few weeks ago when the skies finally cleared up and it seems like it will stay this way for good... well, until next mid-January or so anyway.


I haven't lived all that many places in the world but I think that Chiang Mai is one of my favorite places I have ever been, let alone lived in and it is just such a damn shame that they can't seem to find some sort of solution to this problem. Everyone knows what the solution is but they won't act on it because the farmers and mushroom hunters tend to be people that are very poor and if the government were to arrest them or forbid them from doing this process, it would ruin these people's already spartan lives. There is field clearing equipment that can do the job of the fire, but as you would expect this stuff is expensive.... far more expensive than a lighter and some dry brush. It also probably takes a lot longer than a fire does.

I don't see a solution to this and it is something that we just have to deal with if we want to live here. The more affluent people I know that live up here simply leave the city for a few months each year but for those of us like me, we just kind of have to deal with it and limit the amount of time that we spend outdoors.

I'm likely leaving the country soon so it wont be an issue for me much longer but if I was to offer any advice to people that are thinking of moving here I would say to invest in an air purifier, accept the fact that your windows are going to have to be closed for 2 months, and also get one of those face-masks that actually does something as far as filtration is concerned.

I haven't experienced any sort of negative side-effects from this but I can only imagine the toll that it will take on the people that have lived their entire lives here. It could end up being a very big problem for people in the future.

For now, I'm just happy that every day is clear and sunny and we can finally see the sun and moon again!

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