June 8, 2023 7:18 pm

Kilimanjaro: Firefighters containing blaze on Tanzania mountain

Emergency workers battling to extinguish a fire on the slopes of Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, have managed to contain parts of it, an official says.

“We have seen great success in controlling the fire,” said Prof Eliamani Sedoyeka from Tanzania’s natural resources and tourism ministry.

The fire started on Friday night near one of the mountain’s most popular climbing routes.

It is not clear how the fire started.

Videos posted on social media on Saturday appeared to show large flames and a blanket of smoke engulfing parts of the forest surrounding the mountain.

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Hundreds of emergency workers and volunteers flocked to the site to help with efforts to contain the fire.

Around 500 people, including firefighters, national park staff, tour guides and civilians were said to be at the scene on Sunday, Tanzanian newspaper Mwananchi reported.

It added that the army had been asked to come and assist with efforts to contain the fire.

But speaking to reporters on Sunday, Prof Sedoyeka said that thanks to the efforts of emergency workers and volunteers, large parts of the fire have now been contained.

He added that he hoped the fire would be completely under control by Sunday evening.

No casualties have so far been reported.

Speaking to the BBC, a member of a local tour operator helping with the efforts to extinguish the fire, Abraham Moshi, said the fire had not spread to footpaths or campsites on the mountain, decreasing the risk of casualties.

The fire comes two years after a week-long inferno destroyed thousands of hectares of woodland on Mount Kilimanjaro’s slopes.

Mount Kilimanjaro, which is 5,895m (19,341ft) high is a popular tourist destination and tens of thousands of people climb it every year.

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