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Authorities pursue arsonists after putting out fire at Tsavo West National Park

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) on Monday said that it has contained a huge fire which started on Saturday afternoon at the Tsavo West National Park.

It took the joint efforts of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), fire fighters and hundreds of locals to put out the fire which destroyed vast vegetation within the national park. The military used helicopters to extinguish the blaze.

On Sunday the police said they are in pursuit of arsonists who are believed to be behind the fire.

KWS also said it is working closely with law enforcement officers to investigate and arrest those who ignited the fire.

“The fire is suspected to have been lit by arsonists. Police are tracking down these suspected arsonists,” KWS said in a statement.

KWS also thanked all volunteers who helped in putting out the fire.

“Your efforts and sacrifices are appreciated beyond words,” KWS tweeted.

The fire at the country’s largest national park and home to vast wildlife – including the Big Five – broke out on Saturday afternoon along the Maktau-Taveta Road.

Herders and arsonists have been blamed for a series of fire incidents that have destroyed vegetation within the park in the last few months.

These recurrent incidents have been a big blow to the government’s effort to revive the tourism industry which has lost Sh100 billion ($1 billion) in revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic.