The Kenya Forest Service usually engages a high gear by ensuring that all fire towers are manned around the clock, communities adjacent to forests are also involved and requested to ensure burning of pastures and farmlands is supervised. Leave for Foresters and Rangers in the field stations is usually suspended until the season passes. Fire breaks are cleared, prescribed burning is also undertaken to ensure that the threat of combustible materials is removed.
Despite all the preparations, it is still never possible to remove the threat of fires fully. This year we have already had fires affecting over 1400 hectares mainly of grasslands and occasionally of natural or industrial plantations. The unsung heroes who fight with these fires are our dedicated staff in field stations and members of communities who volunteer to put out the fires.
Here below we pay tribute to the officers from Central Highlands Consersancy who recently fought a fire in Ndaragwa Forest Station. The fire had raged for night and day and it was gratifying to see the Head of Conservancy Mr. Waichihi and the Nyandrua Forest Zone Manager, Mr. Kinyili lead their "troops" from the front. The images shown below have been replicated all around the country in the last forty days and in majority of the conservancies.
An ash-plastered Mr. Waichihi (r)and Mr. Kinyili (l) take a break to refresh after co-ordinating the fire fighting for hours.
KFS Rangers in a concerted effort to suppress the grassland fire in Ndaragwa Forest Station
Due to the remote and harsh terrain in forests, the tools required to fight fires include fire beaters, hoes, fork jembes, machetes to clear and bag packs with sprayers. Here we see rangers receiving the equipment on site.
Rangers are assisted by members of the community to fight the fire.
At nightfall the Rangers and members of community plan how to handle the raging fires.
Its possible for one or two Rangers to put out a small fire if it is spotted early enough and at its head. However, if its windy and out of sight a small fire can grow into a monster fire that can overwhelm 40 men thereby necessitating a call for help from the Community and rarely to other government agencies like KWS, NYS, Police, etc.
Above. Forest Rangers are seen on various dates fighting different fires in Ndaragwa Forest Station.