NYAHURURU, Kenya, Feb 12 – Nyandarua District Forest Service Officer (FSO) George Njenga has declared a fire season in the district with immediate effect.,
A notice issued by the FSO which Capital News got a hold of 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.
“With effect from the date of this notice (Feb 11, 2009) the fire season is forthwith declared and the following precautionary measures shall be strictly observed by neighbourhood of the forests reserve,” cautioned the FSO.
He observed that none of his staff would be allowed to proceed on leave and those already on leave would be recalled to their duty stations immediately as a precaution for any fire emergencies.
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.
Officer 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.
He noted that most forest fires at this time were caused by charcoal burners, honey hunters, grazers and farmers who use fire to clear their farms.
The notice comes weeks after two fire tragedies in the country 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.
Frequent forest fires have been reported in Nyandarua, but none with drastic effects.