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Kenyan wildfires under control

WILDFIRES in Kenyan national parks have driven lions, zebras and giraffes into farmland but many of the fires in the west and center of the country appear to be extinguished, an official said yesterday.

Forest Ministry spokeswoman Mary Ngaruma said there was concern that domestic animals might be attacked by wild animals. Most Kenyan parks are not fenced.

She said around 30,000 hectares had been burnt so far, but that most of the fires were under control. No one has been injured, but damage so far has been estimated at US$4.2 million, she said.

Strong winds and a prolonged drought hindered attempts to fight the fires. The first one was reported on Saturday.

"We wish to urge the combined forces and the communities living along forests to continue with the good work of battling the fires," she said.

An Associated Press reporter at Mount Longonot National Park saw a thin wisp of smoke rising from the crater of the dormant volcano, one side of which was blackened. In the Mau forest, in central Kenya, villagers say the fires are mostly out.

Ten suspected arsonists are in custody.Other fires may have been started by farmers clearing their fields of stubble in time for the planting season.


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