Strong winds aggravate Kenya forest fires

Strong winds aggravate Kenya forest fires

11 February 2011

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Kenya — Laikipia Zonal Forest Manager Mr. William Cheptoo and his Nyandarua counterpart Mr. Benjamin Kinyili expressed their frustration in containing the forest infernos saying over 500 hectares of grassland, bushes, plantation and indigenous forests had been extensively damaged in the two forests since the start of the fires a week ago.

“The fires have continued to spread despite efforts by our rangers and members of the public to put them out.

We are now getting worried since the blazes are spreading first” Mr. Kinyili said. Confirming the incident, Kinyili said the fires erupted on Thursday afternoon at Leshau forest area in Nyandarua North district and had by Friday spread to other parts of Ndaragwa forest on the edge of Lake Ol Bolossat in neighbouring Nyandarua West district.

Mr. Cheptoo said his men were working round the clock to contain the fires which had now spread to all parts of the mainly indigenous forest in three divisions of Ng’arua, Rumuruti and Ol Moran in Laikipia West district.

The government last month issued a fire alert owing to the prevailing dry spell.

The forests affected are also home to an array of wildlife whose survival is in jeopardy now as the fires continue to decimate their natural habitats and fodder.

Meanwhile, a senior deputy director of the Kenya Wildlife Service has sent out an urgent appeal to the public to support efforts to put out an enormous forest fire currently consuming Onturiri forest in Buuri District.

According to Emilio Mugo, the fire that begun Thursday has gone out of control despite efforts by the Kenya Forest Service, KWS, members of the community, and Mount Kenya Safari Club employees.

Mugo appealed to members of the public to congregate at the Buuri District Headquarters located at Timau bordering Nanyuki from where they will be transported to the forest.

The site of the fire can also be accessed through Mt. Kenya Safari club.

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