Burning season in February
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Dec 3, 2012 7:27 PM Last Post By: bomakalu
Dec 2, 2012 3:46 AM
Burning season in FebruaryHi friends, I'm planning to head to Chiang Mai and then north to Pang Mapha for about a week in mid February. Was really looking forward to it before I learned about burning season (husband has asthma, and articles like this are worrying: http://www.examiner.com/article/do-not-visit-chiang-mai-thailand-thick-smog-causing-breathing-difficulties)
I know it's impossible to predict the conditions from year to year, but for those who know the area and have experienced it: Is it so bad that we should change the itinerary? Any advice much appreciated!
Edited by: marton530
Dec 2, 2012 6:52 AM
1I was in Chiang Mai and Lampang last February and it was pretty bad. What you notice at first is just a gray-brown haze everywhere that largely ruins the views of the mountains. But you carry on and do the things you planned to do. After a few days, however, your eyes start to burn and turn red, sore throat starts to develop, allergies get miserable. It took a week after I got back home for all that to go away. I imagine an asthma sufferer would have it quite bad.
Is it guaranteed like that every year? I would say it's a pretty sure bet as it's been like that every year for the past few. If you are lucky there will be rain that clears up the air for a few days. Next time I plan a trip north it will not be during burning season.
Dec 2, 2012 9:26 AM
2Is it so bad that we should change the itinerary?
That's your call. But "they" aren't joking when they tell it as it is ... it's pretty gross the couple of times I've experienced the burns.
My expat friends who live in Chiang Mai leave the area for a couple of months when the burns start.
Dec 2, 2012 3:04 PM
3Ahh... Not what I was hoping to hear but thanks for the advice. I'm guessing it will be equally bad up north ( mae hae song, pang mapha)?
We're leaning towards continuing on (maybe with facemasks?) in chiang mai but a little worried about these northern areas where we'd be outdoors all the time. If anyone strongly believes we're better off visiting a different area, please let me know.
Dec 2, 2012 4:29 PM
4Towards the end of feb this year we were playing golf with my expat mates and had to give up after 12 holes as it was so bad and that's the worst I have seen it.Other years no where near as bad so it's not an easy call for me to make.
You can have good and bad days and it's a pity that this can cost a trip up north to see some beautiful countryside.
Dec 2, 2012 5:30 PM
Dec 2, 2012 6:52 PM
Dec 2, 2012 9:15 PM
ive lived thru several burns and it’s a nightmare but
i must say that its not that bad at the end of feb really!
it is fine until mid march depending on the year.
I would have thought it was ok for feb
I have been thru 4 febs and never had an issue
there are some pollution monitors
that you can see online to detect the levels.
hope this helps!
Dec 2, 2012 11:19 PM
Dec 3, 2012 1:34 AM
9Some years are worse than others. 2007, 2010 and this year were bad with other years more bearable. The haze in Chiang Mai became really noticable around mid-February this year and lasted through early April with mid-March being the absolute worst. Mae Hong Son usually gets it even worse with the burning in Myanmar, and in extreme cases they have to close MHS airport for a few days.
Have a look at the Pollution Control Department website at http://aqmthai.com
The right hand column shows the level of PM10 (micrograms of sub-10-micron particles per cubic meter of air) with anything over 120 being unhealthy and anything over 200 means stay indoors. I've seen it hit over 500 in Mae Hong Son on the very worst days in mid-March and it's commonly over 120 in most of the north during mid-Feb to early April.
If there's any way you could come a bit earlier, even early Feb is usually not so bad, and January is usually very good. The wild card is when and how much rain we get. Some years we get a few magic showers in Feb or March and it clears the air for a while. Good luck with your planning ;-)
Dec 3, 2012 4:22 AM
10Thanks Captain Bob -- we did decide to move the trip up a bit. Reading your comment just after booking made me feel like we made the right decision. We'll be in the region from the 5-11 -- the earliest we could manage. I'm sure we'll feel the effects of the burn but hopefully it won't be as bad as it would be a week later. Thanks again; your feedback is always so helpful.
Dec 3, 2012 6:56 AM
11Good move. Hopefully by pushing it back to early Feb you'll get better air quality.
Check out what a difference a few days can make. Pic at CM airport on Feb 22 this year then again 3 days later. Crikey.
Dec 3, 2012 7:27 PM
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