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Mount Kilimanjaro on fire

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. But there is speculation that the flames could have spread from a fire used to prepare food for tourists. Tanapa spokesman Pascal Shelutete told the Tanzanian newspaper Mwananchi: “It seems the fire that was lit to prepare food . . . torched the dry vegetation in the area and spread quickly.”

Mr Shelutete said the fire started at the Whona area, a rest centre for climbers using two of the several routes up the mountain. Tanapa tweeted pictures which give a sense of the extent of the fire and its aftermath. The College of African Wildlife Management, located near the mountain, has sent 264 students to help fight the fire and distribute supplies to fire fighters.

Meanwhile, helicopter company, State Aviation, has offered its helicopter to help assess the damage.

The BBC’s Aboubakar Famau in Tanzania’s capital Dodoma reports that it is predicted that there may be unprecedented impact on flora and fauna. 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 (19,341ft) high is a popular tourist destination. — BBC NEWS.

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