Wildfire Destroys 40,000 Hectares Of Aberdare National Park

    For over a week, a wildfire has ravaged the Aberdare National Park, destroying approximately 40,000 hectares.

    The fire, which began on February 6, has been identified as an illegal human activity, and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is investigating to bring the perpetrators to justice.

    According to KWS Director General Erastus Kanga, two people have died in incidents related to the forest fires. “When we were mobilising our teams on February 7, we lost one ranger and one fence attendant on their way to the fire scene,” he said.

    According to Bakari Mungumi, the assistant director of Mountain Conservation at Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS), more than 200 personnel have been deployed to contain it.

    KWS acting director general Erustus Kanga confirmed two rangers died during firefighting operations on Monday.

    “The fires have worsened as a result of the prevailing drought and high-altitude winds, which have desiccated the Moorland. The DG expressed his condolences to the Park as they lost two of their staff during the firefighting operations,” KWS said in a statement. 

    Rhino Ark, a charitable trust, has been assisting the rangers with firefighting equipment.

    On February 9, Rhino Ark announced that two fire lines of 6.5km and four kilometres, respectively, were moving quickly to the north and south of the moorland.

    The Arbedares Forest fire destroyed 8,500 acres of moorland vegetation in the first 24 hours after it was reported.

    On February 10, the Rhino Ark reported that devastating wildfires were raging in the Aberdares, South Western Mau Forest, and Eburru Forest.

    By February 11, Rhino Ark reported that the fire had erupted in Nyatoru Valley and was heading towards the fence, with rangers and the community attempting to control it due to the rough terrain surrounding the Kahuho area.

    The fire in the northern moorlands of Aberdare was said to be spreading on Saturday, February 11, with two fire lines moving in opposite directions.

    Kanga thanked the community and Rhino Ark for their participation in the firefighting exercise on Monday.

    Kanga stated on Wednesday that the state was doing its best to manage the situation with the limited resources available.

    “We are working with partners such as KFS, National Youth Service and County government to provide the necessary support,” Kanga said.