The following information as received from Addis Abbaba (see report of 23 February 2000):
Besides a large number of fires burning in woodlands and savannas two very valuable and fire-sensitive forest areas are now affected by large fires, in Bale Zone and Borana Zone, both located in Oromiya Region.
According to the last reports ca. 20,000 ha of forests were burned in Borana Zone. In this zone a total of 20,000 ha of forests are stocking. A Task Force has been established which includes members of the administrations. Also more than 5,000 people have been involved in fire fighting. The administration informs that without external assistance these fires cannot be controlled. First casualties have been reported.
In Bale Zone a major fire has affected 2,500 ha of State Forest. The fire has been contained. More than 50 small fires were detected during the last fire survey flight. Because of the long-lasting and extreme drought the forests are highly flammable, and the whole State Forest area endangered by fire is more than 580,000 ha. This forest complex of the Bale Mountains, an important center of biodiversity includes Bale National Park.
Since no special fire fighting means are available the government of Ethiopia has requested the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) to assist. This emergency operation will be realized within the next days.