A huge fire raging across Kenya’s Aberdare national park for nearly 24 hours has been contained by a combined team of forest rangers and volunteers on Sunday.
An official of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said the fire broke out on Saturday night. The park lies about 100 kilometres north of the capital Nairobi.
Speaking to newsmen on condition of anonymity, the official said “It is on the grasses, it is spreading and very windy ”
“We have mobilised the community and staff around and today they have really tried their best…it is only that they were overwhelmed.”
The park’s name was etched in history when Britain’s Elizabeth II, then a princess on a visit to Kenya, received news of her father’s death while staying at the Treetops Hotel, a remote game-watching lodge built high into a tree in the Aberdare forest.
Rhino Ark, a conservation charity in Kenya, said on Twitter that it had deployed helicopters to conduct aerial surveys of the area to estimate the extent of damage to the forest cover.
The Mount Kenya Trust, a body set up to conserve the country’s forests, said Sunday that a team had “headed up to help with the bushfires in the Aberdares.
“They will camp and hit the fires at first light,” it said on Twitter.
Located in the Aberdare mountain range, the park is home to spectacular waterfalls and lush bamboo jungles as well as exotic wildlife including leopards, elephants and critically endangered black rhinos.
The Aberdares are the third highest mountain range in Kenya, reaching a summit of just over 4,000 metres.
In recent days, proposals for the amendment to the Forest Conservation and Management Act –reforms passed after decades of rampant land clearing has roused significant community anger and sparked fears that it could result in unchecked logging and environmental destruction.
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