Nopporn Karuna, Deputy Chief of the Kamala Tambon Administrative Office (OrBorTor), told The Phuket News that his office was informed of the fire, on Khao Ketni (Ketni Hill) in Moo 5, Kamala, at 2:40pm yesterday.
“We were notified by local people that someone had set a pile of garbage on fire near the base of hill,” he said.
Firefighters from the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) contingent stationed at Kamala OrBorTor arrived to find that the strong wind and dry grass fueled the fire to quickly spread up the hill.
“The fire spread so quickly. It reached about 50 metres from some people’s houses,” Mr Nopporn explained.
Understanding their limited ability to contain the fire, the Kamala firefighters called for help, resulting in a total of seven water trucks from nearby government agencies, including the Royal Thai Navy, arriving at the scene.
“At around 5pm, Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana also came to see the how the firefighters were progressing,” Mr Nopporn said.
The firefighters took until 10pm last night to douse the flames, he said.
“About 30 rai was scorched by the fire. In many areas the firefighters had difficulty in reaching the flames. The water trucks could not get close enough, and firefighters had to carry hoses across the terrain,” he explained.
“We had some officers staying at the scene overnight to standby in case the fire started burning again,” Mr Nopporn added.
And that it did. Firefighters were called back to the scene at 7:30am to douse the fire after it flared up again.
As of midday today, the firefighters were satisfied that the flare-up had been contained and that the area had been soaked enough to prevent another the fire from restarting.
Mr Nopporn confirmed that a search for the firestarter is underway.
“We have already filed a complaint to Patong Police to search for the person who started the fire,” he said.
“Please don’t burn garbage,” Mr Nopporn urged.
“It is dangerous and can causes fires, and we have very little water which should be used for something else,” he said.
Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub