County bans activities around Mt Kenya park

Wednesday March 13 2019

Mt Kenya fire

Smoke billows from a section of Mount Kenya National Park on March 2, 2019. Tharaka-Nithi County has banned all human activities around Mt Kenya National Park. PHOTO | ALEX NJERU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

ALEX NJERU
By ALEX NJERU
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Tharaka-Nithi County has banned any human activity in Mount Kenya National Park.  

The county security team said the ban would remain in force until the fire, which has been burning the forest for the last two weeks, is put out.  

County Ecosystem Conservator James Mburu said they will ensure that the fire that is still consuming a bamboo plantation at Kinondoni Lodge area, is contained.

The inferno erupted five days after an earlier one, which destroyed more than 130 000 hectares of moorland and bamboo vegetation and killed animals before it was extinguished.    

Officers from Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Mount Kenya Trust and members of Community Forest Association (CFA) are still battling the inferno.

FIRES

A report from KFS chief conservator’s office indicates that Aberdare Forest fires had been contained by Wednesday. However, an aerial surveillance showed two spots of smoulders at Kamiruri and Kerigo areas which the KWS said were not likely to spread.

KFS and KWS officers are currently mopping up the burnt areas to prevent re-ignition.  

Another fire was spotted on the southern part of Kirinyaga before being put out. A total of 11 fire outbreaks were reported from other parts of the country at the weekend.   

They are: Esageri and Sabatia in Baringo, Londiani, Makutano and Sorget in Kericho, Menengai in Nakuru, Kapolet and Kitale in Trans Nzoi, Witu in Lamu, Jilore in Kilifi, Kinyesha Mvua in Taita Taveta forests.  

STRONG WINDS

KWS said that cases of forest fires had increased due to high temperatures and strong winds.

Out of the 11, only three: Kapolet, Sabatia and Sorget fires are still burning but a joint multiagency suppression is ongoing.

At least 610 firefighters, including 490 KDF soldiers responded to the previous fires in Mount Kenya.

Eighteen suspected arsonists in the Mau Forest Ecosystem and Aberdares water tower were recently arrested in connection to forest fires.

The Ministry of Environment has ordered anyone intending to burn vegetation near a forest to give a written 48-hour notice to the nearest KFS office.

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