Hundreds of residents and Police in Nyamasheke district are battling a strong fire that is burning down parts of Nyungwe forest National Park.
Gatanazi Emmanuel the executive of Rangiro sector told KT Press that the fire started at 7:00am and has so far burnt down more than 30 hectares of the forest.
The residents and police are using tree branches to extinguish the fire.
Nyungwe forest measures about 1000 square kilometers extending between Nyamagabe and Nyamasheke districts.
“This fire started in the morning, lucky enough no one lost life,” Gatanazi said, adding that the exact cause of the fire is still unknown. “We are still following up the cause,” Gatanazi said.
However, KT Press has established that the fire started on Sunday burning out a wide area of Nyungwe forest extending to Kitabi sector in Nyamagabe district.
Affected sectors include; Mahembe, Gihombo, Kirimbi, Karambi and Rangiro of Nyamasheke district, then Gatare and Nkomane of Nyamagabe district.
According to Jean Claude Umugwaneza a Kigali Today Journalist in Nyamasheke district; “In some areas, like Kirimbi and Karambi, fire started from inside the park and was only stopped by the streets on the buffer zones outside the park.”
Meanwhile, residents suspect careless bee keepers in the outskirts of the forest could have caused the fire in the process of harvesting honey.
During this long drought which ends in September, farmers in the buffer zone usually burn their fields anticipating rains to obtain green pasture for their livestock.
Umugwaneza said;“in other areas however, fire started from the buffer zones and headed inside a habitat of several plants and animal species.”