Fire on Mt. Kilimanjaro reportedly under control

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In this image made from video, fires burn on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. Tanzanian authorities say 500 volunteers have been trying to put out a fire on Africa's tallest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro. (AP Photo)
In this image made from video, fires burn on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. Tanzanian authorities say 500 volunteers have been trying to put out a fire on Africa’s tallest peak, Mt. Kilimanjaro. (AP Photo)

The fire that erupted on Mt. Kilimanjaro on Sunday is reportedly under control after the Tanzanian government deployed helicopters and planes with fire fighting capabilities to assist a group of more than 500 volunteers.

Tanzania’s minister for tourism and natural resources Hamisi Kigwangalla said on Friday that the blaze on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park is largely under control.

“We would like to inform the public that the exercise to put off the blaze that erupted on Mount Kilimanjaro is ongoing but the fire is largely under control,” said Kigwangalla in a statement.

The fire had spread making it more difficult to control it due to high altitude and strong winds, according to the minister.

Reports suggest that a camp of European mountaineers had to be broken up around midnight because of the raging flames.

According to the minister, tourism activities have not been affected by the fire.

The fire broke out on Sunday in the southern part of Kilimanjaro, in the Whona area between the Mandara and Horombo huts at 2,700 and 3,725 meters, respectively.

These are the only overnight accommodations for tourists who climb the mountain via the Marungu route.

According to the minister, the flames already destroyed some 28 square kilometers of mainly tree heather and also the Horombo Tourist Camp, including twelve huts, two toilets and solar energy installations.

The height and poor accessibility of the area, with only footpaths, made containing the more difficult.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

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