Appeal for help as fire sweeps through Aberdare National Park - Beaking Kenya News

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Saturday, 2 March 2019

Appeal for help as fire sweeps through Aberdare National Park

Aberdare park fire

By WAIKWA MAINA
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A fire that started on Wednesday has consumed more than 700 hectares of vegetation at the Aberdare National Park and forest area.
The report on Saturday came as the fire at Mt Kenya National Park raged on, after more than a week of destroying over 100,000 hectares of vegetation.
Regarding Aberdare, Nyandarua County Conservator Jennifer Situma and Kenya Wildlife Service Chief Warden Bajila Kofa appealed for helped, saying they lacked the capacity to put out the fire.
“We have teams on the ground assisted by members of the public and Community Forest Association members but the situation is bad. We are appealing for any support,” he said.
“The hardest hit areas are Malewa and the Table Mountain regions of the national park," he said, adding that more than 300 hectares of park land alone had been destroyed.
CAUSES
Mr Kofa said the fire was caused by honey gatherers and community activities, with residents burning grass to kill ticks.
“The fire originated from neighbouring farms and spread to the park. Residents normally burn vegetation to kill ticks during the dry season. Illegal charcoal burning activities may have worsened matters," he said.
The chief warden also noted the effects of strong winds.
Ms Situma reported that more than 400 hectares of forest cover had been destroyed in her area of jurisdiction.
“There were two fires in the forest but one was contained. Our people and members of the public are battling the fire at Ndaragua. The most affected area is under the national park,” she said.
MT KENYA
The Mt Kenya fire started on Saturday, reportedly near Lake Ellis in Tharaka-Nithi County, before spreading to parts of Embu, Laikipia and Kirinyaga.
Kenya Forest Service Chief Conservator, Monica Kalenda, was hopeful that the fires in Embu, Laikipia and Tharaka Nithi would be put out.
On the Kirinyaga side, however, the task was difficult as the area was inaccessible and there were strong winds.
Ms Kalenda said they were investigating the cause but did not rule out poachers, illegal honey harvesters and bhang farmers.
She noted that 120 cases of wildfires have been reported nationwide since January and 110,582 hectares of vegetation destroyed, dealing a blow to the revenue stream.
On Friday, 490 soldiers of the Kenya Defence Forces were sent to help in Mt Kenya. They teamed up team up with the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Kenya Forest Service and members of the public.

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