Queen Elizabeth and Mt. Rwenzori National Park fires

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tree-climbing-lionnessThe months of December, January and now February have traditionally been very hot in Uganda. As a result there have been a lot of bush fires in many of the upcountry areas in the Country. The national parks have not been spared either.

Queen Elizabeth national park and Mountain Rwenzori national park in Kasese are two of the game reserves in Uganda that have suffered wildfires in the recent weeks.

The situation is being exacerbated by the climate change as well as the activities of poachers in the national parks. Official from the Uganda Wildlife Authority – UWA as well as the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces – UPDF fought the fires for about week and managed to bring it down in Mount Rwenzori national park.

A group of about 30 tourists were doing hiking mount Rwenzori when the fire broke out on Monday. The tourist were at a height of about 4,600m above sea level when this occurred. According to the senior warden who is in-charge of Mountain Rwenzori national park the fires blazed for almost a week.

Mr. Kiiza further said that, “It has always been wet up there during dry season but this time climate change has taken an extra toll to deprive Uganda of its pride as global warming takes its toll on the tourism industry,”

He said that, “Our team has worked round the clock since the fire was reported”. In addition he said that many birds and wildlife were killed by the fires negatively affecting the ecosystem and Uganda’s tourism at large.

The fires have destroyed several properties in the area. The director of Rwenzori Trekking Services, Mr. Hunwick John said his property was virtually destroyed and when the fire broke out he had about 20 clients who were  doing mountain climbing in the Rwenzoris. However, his clients were safely evacuated from the mountains.

The fire break out has made the authorities close Mountain Rwenzori hiking through the Kilembe trails.

Queen Elizabeth National Park

In Queen Elizabeth national park the fires blazed through several acres of land destroying plants and wildlife. It also destroyed several tourist facilities including many Kyambura Safari Lodge cottages.

The inferno destroyed several cotton fields in the communities neighboring Queen Elizabeth national park plus 30 goats in the area of Mubuku.

According to Mr. Guma Nelson, the area conservation manager of Queen Elizabeth national park, the fires have been hard to fight during the day due to the wind gusts which easily spread the fires to the different parts of the park.

Kyambura Safari lodges is a relatively new establishment with good cottages and facilities. It is pity that the fires destroyed half of its Cottages.

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