Fire destroys Kenyan forests

Fire destroys Kenyan forests

07 February 2011

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Kenya — Hundreds of wildlife are at risk after a fierce fire destroyed over 70 hectares of forest cover at the Aberdare national park and Ndaragwa forest.

According to the Kenya Forest Service Provincial officer in-charge of Mountain Conservancy Mr. John Wachihi, the fires that broke out on Sunday night fire ere started by honey harvesters living around the forests.

Wachihi said no suspect has been arrested in connection with the incident saying investigations have been launched.

He said Kenya Forest Service Officers KFS), Kenya Wildlife Service(KWS)and the local community managed to contain the first fire in Ndaragwa forest but moments later another fire erupted and swept through Aberdare forest.

“We believe that someone with an ill motive started the fire. We were were almost through when another fire erupted at another corner” he lamented.

Wachihi said several hectares of forest cover have been reduced to ashes but assured that firefighters were battling the still-raging blazes.

Speaking to KBC , the forest officers however said the high flames are being fanned by strong winds following the dry season.

He regretted that hundreds of wild animals within the area have left to safer areas while the small ones did not survive the fire.

Wachihi said that River Malewa which originated at the Aberdare forest was at risk of drying up due to the destruction of the forest.

The incident comes barely three days after KFS issued a fire alert following the prevailing dry spell.

KFS Director David Mbugua however said they were on high alert to deal with forest fires that are on the increase owing to the prevailing dry weather and urged the public to remain vigilant and report all potential threats of forest fires on hotline number 020 250 2508.

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