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Hundreds mobilise in Tanzania to contain Mount Kilimanjaro fire

Officials say students and residents helping firefighters to put out the blaze on Africa’s highest mountain.

Hundreds mobilise in Tanzania to contain Mount Kilimanjaro fire
Strong winds on Sunday helped fan the fire, but the winds have since died down [File: Finbarr O’Reilly/Reuters]

Hundreds of volunteers including students and residents have mobilised in Tanzania to help firefighters in their efforts to contain a blaze on Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak.

Strong winds on Sunday helped fan the fire, but the winds have since died down. So far, no injuries or deaths have been reported and no property has been damaged.

Pascal Shelutete, an official with Tanzania’s National Parks service (TANAPA) said on Monday the fire was still burning.

“Firefighters from TANAPA, other government institutions, and locals are continuing with the efforts to contain it,” he added.

Every year, some 50,000 tourists climb Kilimanjaro, which rises to 5,895 metres (nearly 20,000 feet) above sea level.

The fire started at the Whona area, a rest centre for climbers using Mandara and Horombo, two of the several routes up the mountain, Shelutete said in a statement posted on Twitter.

TANAPA was taking all precautions necessary to ensure the safety of visitors and their equipment, Shelutete said.

“The fire is big and they are continuing to fight it,” Alex Kisingo, deputy head at the College of African Wildlife Management located near the mountain in northeastern Tanzania, told Reuters News Agency.

The college has sent 264 staff and students to help fight the fire, Kisingo said. They were working with local authorities to help deliver food and water to the firefighters, he added.

The fire could be seen from as far as Moshi, a town known as the gateway to the mountain, which has three volcanic cones and is one of Tanzania’s major tourist attractions.

Resident Dionis Nyato said the flames were burning on the lower part of Kilimanjaro.

Johnny Mapesa

Written by Johnny Mapesa

Johnny Mapesa is an award-winning Kenyan journalist who is driven with passion and has worked for several media brands both locally and internationally and currently working with African Stand.

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