Fire is continuing to rage on at the Mount Kilimanjaro even as firefighters and other volunteers are trying to do their best to extinguish it. The fire ignited on Sunday. Multiple news sites have reported that the fire used to heat food for tourists became out of control, turning into an outbreak.
According to Pascal Shelutete, who is the spokesperson for the Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa), the official Tanzanian body, “It seems the fire that was lit to prepare food... (it) torched the dry vegetation in the area and spread quickly”.
Shelutete also added, “The fire is now under control and we are ensuring that climbing activities are not affected”. However, various reports suggest that the fire has not been tamed in its entirety prompting the authorities to deploy helicopters as a possible recourse to rein in the fire thoroughly.
Mount Kilimanjaro burns as rescue operators turn desperate
Around 264 student volunteers of the College of African Wildlife Management have been deputised to aid the firefighters in their task. The problems in controlling the fire have been amplified because of the heavy winds, the prevalent dry weather, and the altitude of the area itself.
Talking about this aspect, the African Wildlife Management college’s deputy chief, Alex Kisingo said, “The fire could have been contained earlier but the mountainous fire is very tricky”. The continuing of the blaze has also impacted the plants in the area.
Officials involved in the fire controlling operations have also warned that the extent of the damage to the plants could be comprehensive even while it is unknown at present. There are several endangered species of animals found in the mountain.
The epicentre of the fire, according to the authorities, is the resting centre called Whona. The centre is used by those climbers who take the routes via Horombo and Mandara to get to the peak of the snow-capped mountain. People in the town of Moshi that is around 30 km away from the mountain said that they could see the flames when the fire began.
Tourists wanting to go to the Kilimanjaro National Park have to pass through Moshi. Mount Kilimanjaro, which forms a part of the Kilimanjaro National Park, is the tallest mountain in Africa. A dormant volcano, Kilimanjaro stands around 19,341 feet above sea-level and is the world’s tallest single free-standing mountain.
The mountain was declared a world heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 1987. Image Credit: CNN