Fire broke out on Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa
A fleet of helicopters deployed by the Tanzanian government to aid in putting out in Mount Kilimanjaro fire has helped in bringing the situation under control.
The fire started on Sunday and five days later, it had not been fully contained.
At least 500 volunteers have been at the foothills of the mountain helping out in any way that they can in putting out the mountain Kilimanjaro fire.
Mount Kilimanjaro Fire Under Control
On Friday, Tanzania’s Minister for Tourism and Natural Resources Hamisi Kigwangalla said that they had managed to bring the inferno under control.
“We would like to inform the public that the exercise to put off the blaze that erupted on Mount Kilimanjaro is ongoing but the fire is largely under control,” said Kigwangalla in a statement.
It became a daunting task to put out the fire due to its rapid spread and high altitude coupled with strong winds which fuelled it.
Fire-fighting choppers enlisted in putting out the fire helped in getting to the high altitude areas where the fire had spread to and put it out while efforts on the slopes by volunteers and firefighters continued.
The fire destroyed Whona area, a major resting point for mountain climbers using Mandara and Horombo routes in the southern part of Kilimanjaro. It is estimated that 50,000 tourists have used this route to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
According to preliminary details by Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), the fire may have been started by porters heating food for some tourists.
“Though there could be more to this fire preliminary evidence points Whona where visitors were warming their food. As you know this is a dry season and fire spreads very fast,” TANAPA communication official Pascal Shelutete was quoted by The Citizen.
When the fire started, a camp of European mountaineers was quickly dismantled to avoid fatalities since the fire spread fast.
Mount Kilimanjaro takes the glory of being Africa’s highest mountain at 20,000 ft above sea level.
Alex Kisingo, the deputy head of College of African Wildlife Management located near the mountain, told Reuters that the college dispatched 264 staff and students to help contain the fire. They were pivotal in providing water and food to the firefighters.
Residents near the mountain and who live in Moshi town say they first saw the flames of the fire on Sunday evening at the slopes of the mountain.
When the fire broke out on Sunday afternoon, mountain climbers at Kibo Hut detailed they could see the fierce fires in shrubs and it sent chills of fear because it could soon enough get to them.
About two million residents depend on the ecosystem of Mount Kilimanjaro to earn a living including thousands who depend on water from the mountain for farming and livestock rearing.