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Animals killed, vegetation destroyed as fire consumes park

Tuesday February 26 2019

 Mount Kenya National Park FIRE

A section of Mount Kenya National Park which has been destroyed by fire. The inferno, which started on Saturday, has killed wild animals and destroyed huge tracks of vegetation. PHOTO ALEX NJERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

ALEX NJERU
By ALEX NJERU
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A wild fire has destroyed vegetation and killed animals in Mount Kenya National Park.

Mr Isaac Mugo, the park’s senior warden said on Tuesday that efforts to put out the inferno, which was noticed on Saturday, was ongoing.  

He said officers from Kenya Forest Service and Community Forest Association were fighting to put out the fire that had consumed huge tracks of vegetation.

He said the fire was spreading fast due to the strong winds.

“We have been battling the fire, which is spreading so fast due to strong winds, using two choppers and hand pumps.,” said Mr Mugo.

POACHERS

Mr Mugo called on more stakeholders to support them in putting out the inferno which is suspected to have been caused either by honey harvesters or poachers.

Mount Kenya National Park fire

Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forest Service officers put out fire at Mount Kenya National Park. PHOTO | ALEX NJERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Wilson Njeru who works at the Chogoria-Kinondoni Lodge-Lake Ellis route, said there would be a drop in business since tourists would avoid the route.

“Whenever there is fire outbreak on Tharaka-Nithi County side, tourists use Silmon and Naromoru routes to climb the mountain,” said Mr Njeru.

He said apart from destroying vegetation and killing wildlife, other animals flee to other sections of the park until the vegetation grows again.

WATER TOWER

The government spends millions of shillings fighting frequent forest fires in Mount Kenya National Park.

The fires are sometimes started by intruders for superstitious reasons, including beliefs that they would trigger rainfall.

The rugged terrains and impassable roads often make it difficult for firefighters to extinguish the wild fires.

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