KAYONZA: A fire that broke out last Friday at about 3 p.m and lasted for close to 38 hours before it was contained on the evening of Sunday, August 17, gutted close to 107 square kilometres in the Akagera National Park.
This was revealed yesterday by Robert Komire, the park’s warden in an interview with The New Times. He explained that Muhoro, Nyamatete, Kajumbura, Nyiradhor, and Kirara hills were among the most devastated parts by outbreak. Other areas that were destroyed include parts of the Nyungwe valley also found in Akagera National Park.
“Akagera National Park has quite often suffered fire outbreaks especially during dry spells. Fires are normally set by poachers who wish to trap wild animals in the burnt area. The recent fire outbreak started at 3pm on the night of August 15 and lasted for 38hours before it was controlled on Sunday August 17 at exactly 16hours,” said Komire adding that it was contained by the park’s guard who have been sensitized on how to stop fire outbreaks without being affected by the same fire.
He said that the wild animals and birds of the park were not affected as they sense dangerous fires early and thus escape to safer areas.
Komire revealed that the army based in Gabiro training wing, police, local defence, and park security guards are all involved in tracing the culprits, adding that whoever will be nabbed illegally trespassing will be held to answer charges.
The park warden appealed to the communities surrounding the park to keep an open eye on whoever trespasses amongst them and also report cases of fire outbreaks to local area leaders who should in turn forward such cases to the park authorities.
He urged local leaders that since the park is a national property, it is a responsibility of every Rwandan to protect its environment.