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More acreage destroyed by fire in Aberdares

22 March 2012, 10:41 Kelvin Wanjohi

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Over 10,000 hectares of forest cover at the Aberdare Ranges has so far been destroyed by the raging fire that started six days ago. 

Kenya Forest Service Nyeri Zone Manager, Muchiri Mathinji said the fire started in Shamata area of Nyandarua County at the source of Honi River and kept spreading everyday towards Chania River destroying moorland grass and some indigenous trees.

Mathinji was speaking yesterday at the Aberdares as the Kenya army, the police, Kenya Wildlife Service, KFS and over 100 members of the community around joined in the venture to suppress the fire.

He however said their efforts are being hampered by the strong southerly winds fueling the fire and also impassibility of the ground due to its soggy state.

He said the fire had also spread to the top of the ranges destroying some rosewood trees but said they were able to suppress it two days ago.

The officer requested members of the community to come out in large numbers to help put out the fire that is threatening to destroy the forest which is an important water catchment area as well as a habitat for wild animals and other micro-organisms.

He said itis important to conserve the country’s major water tower as it is the main source of water used in Nairobi and also provides most of the water that goes to hydro-power dams.

On Mt. Kenyafire, Mathinji said by yesterday, they had suppressed 90% of the fire on the Nyeri County side through combined efforts by all stakeholders but expressed fears that the water towers are still in danger if the current dry spell continues.

He said his office declared a fire season early this year putting all forest officers on high alert to deal with such incidences promptly and also to educate the communities living around the forests on the need to conserve and protect these water towers.

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