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Multi-agency team fights to contain fire in Mt Kenya ecosystem

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 2 – A multi-agency response team is battling to suppress a forest fire which the Ministry of Environment and Forestry said on Saturday had affected 100,000 acres of an unforested area in the Mount Kenya ecosystem.

Over 500 personnel mostly drawn from the military have camped at the Aberdares National Park where a joint command centre has been set up to monitor the situation.

The Aberdares forest fire was first reported on Thursday morning.

“The Shamata fire at Aberdares National park is still raging despite major efforts by multi-agency responders,” said Elius Njiru, Public Communications Head at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

“KDF has deployed 240 troops to Chogoria gate and the troops started firefighting today. Another 250 KDF troops have been deployed to Nyeri side of Mt. Kenya,” he pointed out.

The Forestry Ministry said Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko undertook surveillance after the incident was first reported.

Kamiruri and Ndaragua areas of the forest were still burning Saturday morning despite efforts to contain the fire.

“Four major fires in Meru and Tharaka Nithi side are still burning despite major suppression efforts witnessed today,” the ministry said promising to issue daily updates on the situation.

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An additional 100 personnel comprising of forest association members have also been responding to a fire that has been raging in the Mt Kenya forest over the past five days.

In February 2018, 300 hectares of Mt Kenya forest were engulfed in a similar fire, days after the Kenya Forest Service issued an alert following prolonged drought.

The inferno lasted three days.

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