Nairobi News

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Arsonists blamed for deadly fire at Tsavo West National Park


Acres of vegetation at the Tsavo West National Park have been destroyed by fire. In a statement on Sunday, the Kenya Wildlife Service blamed arsonists for the fire which started on Saturday afternoon.

By late Sunday evening, KWS said it was working with other partners to put out the fire.

“The fire, which started at the Sheikdam area on August 8th 2020, at 2pm, is suspected to have been lit by arsonists. Police are tracking down these suspected arsonists as we work to extinguish the fire,” KWS said in the statement.

“KWS is jointly working with KDF, NYS, KFS, County Government of Taita Taveta, conservation partners and the community to extinguish the latest fire in Tsavo West National Park. Ground and aerial teams have been deployed to deal with the fire,” KWS further said.

THREAT TO WILDLIFE

The fire at the national park poses a big threat to animals as Tsavo is inhabited by thousands of wildlife species including the big five.

KWS further clarified that the service did not ask for a fundraiser to support the firefighters.

“We wish to clarify that the Service has not sanctioned any NGO, independent groups or individuals to fund raise on its behalf to support fire-fighting. The public should be wary of such requests. A clear and transparent process is being established to fund raise and support firefighting efforts.” KWS said.

KWS was responding to a social media post by the CEO at Wildlife Direct Dr Paula Kahumbu, who called on Kenyans to rally together and mobilise resources to combat the fire.

DESTROYED VEGETATION

“Bush fires are raging across Tsavo West – Sh20million needed for firefighting equipment, 6million for fuel & mobilising people. Anyone with contacts at @totalKenya please help – let’s appeal to them to support the emergency efforts with fuel at Vii. Asante pls RT,” Kahumbu tweeted.

Meanwhile, there are concerns over recurrent incidents of fire at Tsavo National Park after another fire destroyed thousands of acres of vegetation about two weeks ago.

In May, another fire destroyed more than 4,000 acres of vegetation at the Tsavo East National Park. A month later fire consumed more than 180 acres of the vast conservation area.

Yet another inferno was reported on July 23, with thousands of acres of vegetation reported to have been destroyed.