Heavy rains put out parts of Mount Kenya fires


Mother Nature has come to the aid of overwhelmed firefighters after heavy rains put out the Kirinyaga Castle Forest fire on the southern side of Mount Kenya National Park.

A report by the Kenyan Ministry of Environment and Forestry shows that Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and members of the Community Forest Association (CFA) also put out fires at Ndaragwa and Kamiruri area.

But the fire is still raging in Chogoria, Tharaka-Nithi County and is threatening the northwest of the park.

The blaze was first reported in Moorland near Lake Ellis in Tharaka-Nithi County and spread to the neighbouring Embu, Meru, Kirinyaga, Laikipia and Nyeri counties.

About 610 firefighters, among them 490 Kenya Defence Forces soldiers, have been battling the fierce inferno using five helicopters and water hand pumps among other tools.

In Geta Forest, fire is still wreaking havoc in the steep Sofia area where gradients have made it difficult for the nearly 100 members of CFA and KFS officers to put it out.

In Shamata Forest, fire is also burning towards central moorlands of Aberdare.

Because of the increased fire incidences, the Environment and Forestry ministry issued new policy demanding a 48-hour written notice from residents intending to burn any vegetation in areas adjacent to forests.

Chief Conservator of Forests Monica Kalenda says more than 120 cases of fire have been reported since January and valuable properties destroyed.