NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 13 – A huge fire is raging at the Lake Nakuru National Park and has so far lapped up more than 10 acres of park land.,
Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) Communication Manager Paul Udoto told Capital News on Friday that the fire broke out at noon and the cause is still unknown.
“If you are on the Naivasha – Nakuru highway you can see the fire which begun from the mountainous side of the park and is spreading towards the lake,” Mr Udoto said
Mr Udoto said fire-fighters from the Kenya Army, the Police, the Nakuru Municipal Council and KWS wardens are working together to try and douse the flames.
“We have been fighting the fire from noon when it broke out but it’s quite challenging due to the current dry conditions,” he said.
Nakuru National Park has the highest population of wild animals in the country, compared to other parks and game reserves.
Strong winds are fanning the blaze, which is consuming the vegetation.
“It’s unfortunate this has happened in this particular park which is the institutions highest revenue earner and reports the highest number of tourist visitations,” he said.
Mr Udoto however confirmed that so far there have been no reports of either injured visitors or animals but most of the damage is on the parks vegetation.
He said KWS has ambulances on standby and plans for evacuation is in place in case need arises.
The blaze came barely a day after Nyandarua District Forest Service Officer (FSO) George Njenga declared a fire season in that district.
A notice issued by the FSO on Thursday said that this is due to the prolonged dry weather conditions that have led to the drying up of vegetation matter in the forests and other areas.
In the notice, Mr Njenga observed that due to the prevailing dry weather conditions, a fire season has been declared, demanding strict precautionary measures in the area.
The notice further warns against the burning of any kind of vegetation inside the forest reserve, and stipulates that fire signboards and posters should be placed in strategic points for wider publicity of the imminent risk.
Mr Njenga also indicated that his officers had been ordered to carry out fire patrols in all the forest areas that are at greater risk of catching fire, and appealed to members of the public to exercise greater caution, while handling fire outside their homes.
His warning comes in the wake of two fire tragedies in the country that have claimed more than 150 lives; the first at supermarket chain Nakumatt’s Downtown store, and the other in Sachang’wan, Molo, where an oil tanker erupted in flames.
It also comes as Australia mourns for about 181 people killed in deadly wildfires across that country.