Firefighters tackle blaze on Tanzania mountain


Mount Kilimanjaro

Firefighters in Tanzania are battling to extinguish a blaze on Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, local officials say.

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

Giant flames and plumes of smoke could be seen on the slopes, witnesses in the area told BBC Swahili.

It is not clear how the fire started or how much forest has been burned. No result have been reported.

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

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.

The regional police chief, quoted by AFP news agency, said he could not yet say how big the fire was.

But a plane sent to the site of the fire was unable to land due to the huge clouds and thick smoke, Kilimanjaro regional head Nurdin Babu told local reporters.

Subsequently, more than 300 people were sent to the scene to help get the blaze under control, according to the Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa). As well as emergency workers, including firefighters and police, wildlife park rangers and tourism company employees were taking part in the effort to bring the fire under control, it said.

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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