The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers are battling a raging fire at the Meru National Park that broke out on Saturday night.
Officials at the park said the inferno might have been started by suspected herders, who failed to access grazing fields near Kindani Kiulu area on the southern part of the park.
The officials said the herders had tried to drive their cattle into the protected area in vain.
They said the fire first broke out twice on Friday but was put out, only for it to reappear on Saturday night before quickly spreading to other parts of the park.
“The first incident on Friday morning involved a small patch which was put out. The Saturday night blaze was bigger so it spread over a big area,” said an officer who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Due to ravaging drought in parts of Meru, especially in Igembe where the park is situated, herders have had to travel long distances in search of pasture for their livestock.
“Besides those from Tigania (Meru), the herders are also coming from Isiolo and as far as Moyale in Marsabit counties. They claim that animals cannot enjoy pasture while their livestock is starving,” the officer said.
The KWS corporate communications department said a statement would be issued about the fire but had not done so by the time this story was published.