The Kenya Forest Service Department in Kirinyaga County is on high alert over fire outbreaks during this dry season.

Kirinyaga County Ecosystem Conservator Monica Masibo said her office had recalled all forest rangers and any forester on leave in order to consolidate their preparedness in event of any fire outbreaks in the forests.

However, the forester said the department was faced with a shortage of equipment and forest rangers, where it has only 37 officers instead of the required 70. Masibo also said the office had no fire tower to track fires.

She said the office had petitioned their headquarters for equipment and facilities that would enhance their fire preparedness.

Kirinyaga County has a forest cover of over 30,000 hectares which is over 30 per cent of the county’s forest cover.

“We are way ahead of the country`s requirement of at least 10 per cent of the forest cover,” she said.

The official said the most sensitive forests being watched for fire break-outs are Njukiini and Murinduko forest on the Southern part and the bamboo forest in Mt. Kenya National Park.

She also disclosed that the department has had meetings with all the stakeholders in Nyeri to ascertain the state of fire preparedness in the entire Central Kenya region.