Aberdare, Mt Kenya Fires Rage On

Aberdare, Mt Kenya Fires Rage On

19 March 2012

published by www.allafrica.com

Kenya– Fire fighters were struggling to save the Aberdare National Park from raging flames for the fifth day yesterday.

A team of fire fighters comprising of the Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Wildlife Service, the Kenya Army and the local community were trying to contain the fire as it was spreading very fast due to strong winds from the park’s moorland area which is about 4,000 feet above sea level. The team spent the better part of yesterday trying to put out the fire but was overwhelmed by its intensity as it become wilder. Regional Head of Central Highland Conservancy John Wachihi said the fire has consumed more than 5,000 hectares of forest.

However he was optimistic that the fierce fire will be managed by tomorrow adding that there were signs of possible rains that could boost the efforts. Wachihi said the park is a major natural resource and a water tower that feeds Nairobi with over 80 percent of its water and contributes about 70 per cent of hydro power. “It also supports agricultural activities within the region and hence needs to be protected and conserved,” said Wachihi. The park’s deputy game warden Isaac Mwangi commended the team for its efforts in fighting the fire and said they will continue until it is put out.
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He however regretted that a number of the small animals had died in the raging fire owing to their inability to flee from the inferno. During yesterday’s exercise the fire fighting team faced myriad challenges they had to to trek for over 10 hours to reach the scene of the fire and had to retreat due to the harsh conditions as they await further reinforcement from other forces. The firefighters, who use basic tools like rubber flippers and backpack fire extinguishers, have been forced to resort to traditional methods like clearing vegetation to create fire breaks to keep the fires from spreading to new areas.

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