The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) has declared a fire season in Makueni County following a long dry weather spell.
The County Ecosystem Conservator Maurice Wanyiri said the declared fire season started Monday and will continue until the onset of the rains.
“It is in consideration of these factors that my office has deemed it necessary to declare the fire season in the larger Makueni County with effect from today 23rd August, 2021 until the onset of the rains,” said Wanyiri in a signed statement released to KNA.
The Ecosystem Conservator recalled all KFS staff who were on leave and said no officer will be allowed to be away from duty during the crucial period.
He further asked all station managers and forest rangers to remain on duty throughout the week, as part of the measures to prevent and respond to any event of fire outbreaks that may occur in forest stations.
Wanyiri observed that farmers burning slashed vegetation while preparing their farms were also to blame for the recent fire incidents in Chyulu and Tsavo West National parks.
In this regard, any burning of vegetation near or inside the forest has been prohibited in the county during the fire season.
“Any farmer who intends to burn any vegetation in any of the areas adjacent to the forest reserves should give a 48 hour written notice of intention to the nearby KFS office for approval,” said Wanyiri.
Speaking separately, Makueni County Commissioner Maalim Mohammed asked all Deputy County Commissioners, Assistant County Commissioners, Chiefs and their Assistants to work closely with KFS to ensure no fire outbreaks are witnessed in their areas of jurisdiction.
At the same time, Mohammed urged the national government administrators to educate members of the public on the need to exercise caution and conserve the environment for future generations.
He further said residents should avoid interfering with the habitat as it kills wildlife.
“When fire breaks in forests, the habitat of many animals is destroyed while others get killed, hence the need for everyone to get involved in conserving the environment for posterity,” added Mohammed, while speaking to KNA in his Wote Office.
By Ronald Rono