The fire that has been consuming sections of Mt. Kenya Forest for the last one week has abated, following a sudden downpour that hit the southern parts of the forest over the weekend.
The forest department has however said it has not yet called off fire fighting and that teams of the fire fighters comprising of forest guards, the Kenya wildlife service and volunteers are still on the ground.
The Tharaka Nithi Ecosystem Conservator, James Mburu told reporters in Chuka town on Monday that pockets of the fire that was still smoldering around Lake Ellis and the Mt. Kenya National Park were today doused by a chopper with water buckets.
The chopper belonging to the David Sheldrick Foundation of Nanyuki overflies the forest every morning and evening to douse flames caused by sparks from smoldering logs.
“We are still in the fire season because the rains are yet to properly begin. Showers that fell on the southern parts of the forest around Lake Ellis and Kinondoni in the Chogoria area were not much but they assisted in putting off the fire. Our teams are still on standby to monitor the situation and do the necessary mopping up,” Mburu said.
He disclosed that the inferno had wiped out about 100,000 acres of mostly moorland in sections of the park and thanked forest stakeholders, including members of local Forest Associations for volunteering to put off the fire.
The fire that started near Lake Ellis a week ago had by Tuesday spread to Meru, Embu, Kirinyaga and Laikipia Counties destroying vast acres of moorland.
At least 120 fires have been reported countrywide since January resulting to destruction of more than 120 hectares of forest cover.
By Kenneth Marangu