Kenya: Fire Consumes 650 Acres of Lake Nakuru National Park

by Feb 25, 2011Habitat News

A huge fire that broke out on Wednesday evening at the Lake Nakuru National Park had not been put out by yesterday. Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Osman Warfa said the inferno had destroyed vegetation in more than 650 acres of the parkland consuming vegetation and parts of Europhobia forest.

Strong winds fanned the blaze making it to spread fast to the eastern side of the world renowned bird sanctuary. The Kenya Wildlife Service wardens and the Kenya army soldiers were yesterday battling to put out the fire.

The park’s senior warden Lidya Kisoyan said efforts to control further spread of the fire were complicated by the hilly terrain as fire engines and personnel were unable to access some of the areas on fire. She was however optimistic the fire would be contained soon. Bush fires have been regular at the park during dry spells. Last year thousands of acres of vegetation were destroyed by an inferno.

Yesterday, firefighters had to contend with strong winds that fanned the flames. The most affected is the part adjacent to Lanet Gate entrance, located near the Nairobi-Nakuru Road.

The damage was prominent in the mountainous area dotted with savanna vegetation, bushes and shrubs. The PC, who was accompanied by the Provincial police boss Francis Munyambu, said the fire had been started by the farmers who were burning and clearing their gardens in readiness for the planting season. “The fire started from farmers’ plot and spread to the park,” Warfa said.

Kisoyan said that though firefighters had been working round the clock, the flames were yet to be contained 22 hours later. She said the park had incurred losses running into millions of shillings as most parts of the Lake Nakuru Bird sanctuary had been affected.

The senior warden said no animals had been killed or hurt by the flames. She said the fire broke out although measures had been put in place to avert it.

The PC said he was mobilising all government agencies to help fight the fire. “We are mobilising the Military and all the security personnel in the region to see if we can be able to control it,” Warfa said.

The loss of a large area of vegetation will pose problems for the park’s wildlife.