The Kenya Forest Service Department in Kirinyaga County is on high alert to curb any fire outbreaks during this dry season.
Kirinyaga County Ecosystem Conservator Ms. Monica Masibo said her office had recalled all forest rangers and any forester on leave in order to consolidate their preparedness in event of any fire outbreaks in the forests.
Masibo said the prevailing dry weather in all parts of Kirinyaga County has resulted in the drying of forest vegetation.
The fire danger rating is very high and I hereby declare fire season in our county effective from today, she said
Masibo at the same time called on the communities living adjacent to the forest to be alert and respond to eventual emergencies of forest fire.
Farmers have also been advised to take extra care and avoid use of fire in land preparations as that has in the past been identified as a major cause of fires in the forests.
The forester however said that the department was faced with a shortage of equipment as well as forest rangers.
It has only 37 officers against the required 70 and the office also does not have fire towers to track fires.
She said the office had also petitioned their headquarters for equipment and facilities that would enhance their fire preparedness.
What we have done is to intensify fire patrols in our forest as a measure of ensuring we are in control in the event of any eventuality, she said
Kirinyaga County has a forest cover of over 30,000 hectares which is over 30 per cent of the forest cover.
We are way ahead of the countrys requirement of at least 10 per cent of the forest cover, she said.
The official said the most sensitive forests being watched for fire break-outs are Njukiini and Murinduko forest on the Southern part and the bamboo forest in Mt. Kenya National Park.
Source: Kenya News Agency