Nairobi, Aug 10 – Teams of fire fighters from NGOs, government agencies and groups of volunteers on Monday managed to put out several fires that had been raging Kenya’s Tsavo West National Park since the weekend and which, according to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), were started by arsonists.
Ground and aerial teams, including some from the military, were deployed on August 8 to combat the fires. Police are tracking down suspected arsonists believed to have lit the fires, KWS said.
According to the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust that deployed an aircraft and a team to help fight the fires, the blaze was finally brought under control on Monday afternoon. “Teams remain ready to respond should shifting winds change this situation. However, at this time it appears that the unwavering efforts of ground and air personnel over the last two and a half days, from a ream of NGOs, government bodies and volunteer groups, have seen these extensive fires extinguished,” said a statement issued by the Trust.
The fires first broke out along the Maktau-Taveta Road, a few kilometres from another fire that ignited a few days earlier. It is thought that the fires were deliberately lit with the intention of either retaliating against the Kenya Wildlife Service for its efforts to keep livestock out of the national park or to clear grazing land for cattle to be illegally brought into the park.