Fire breaks out on Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro

File photo: In this image made from video, fires burn on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020. /AP Photo

A fire has broken out on Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, officials confirmed Saturday.

William Mwakilema, the commissioner for Conservation of the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), confirmed the incident, adding efforts were underway to contain the fire.

“Firefighters have already been deployed on the mountain to contain the fire,” Mwakilema told Xinhua when reached over the phone.

TANAPA released a terse statement in the afternoon saying the fire broke out Friday night.

“TANAPA in collaboration with the government is working hard to put out the fire,” said Mwakilema who was in Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital of Tanzania, attending the official opening of the 6th edition of the Swahili International Tourism Expo.

Nurdin Babu, the Kilimanjaro regional commissioner, told Xinhua over the phone that he was flying with experts over the mountain for an aerial survey to establish areas affected by the fire and the extent of damage caused.

“The cause of the fire is still not yet established,” said the statement signed by Catherine Mbena, TANAPA’s senior conservation officer for communications.

The statement said firefighters from the Tanzania Fire and Rescue Force have teamed up with TANAPA game rangers, police and the College of African Wildlife Management in the Kilimanjaro region to contain the fire.

In October 2020, a fire broke out on the mountain and destroyed 95.5 square kilometers of vegetation and 12 huts, two toilets and solar equipment used by tourists climbing the mountain.

Mount Kilimanjaro, one of Tanzania’s leading tourist destinations, is about 5,895 meters above sea level.

Roughly 50,000 trekkers from across the world attempt to reach the summit of the mountain annually.