Kilimanjaro: Fire breaks out on Africa’s tallest mountain

Efforts are continuing in Tanzania to extinguish a fire that has broken out on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.

Members of the Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa) and local people have been struggling to put out the blaze which began on Sunday. Their efforts have been hampered by the altitude as well as strong winds and dry weather which have caused the fire to spread fast. The cause of the fire is not clear.

But according to a Pascal Shelutete, an official from Tanapa, the blaze started at the Whona area, a rest centre for climbers using two of the several routes up the mountain. “The fire is still going on and firefighters from Tanapa, other government institutions and locals are continuing with the efforts to contain it,” Mr 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, told Reuters news agency.

The college has sent its 264 students to help fight the fire and distribute supplies to firefighters. The parks authority said in a statement that it had taken “every step to make sure that, the fire will not affect the lives of tourists, their equipment, porters and tour guides”.

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