The fight against the flames that have been blazing for four days on africa’s highest mountain continues unabated with the simplest of means. On the southern flank of kilimanjaro, some of the 500 or so helpers tried to cut firebreaks with picks and branches.
According to tanzania’s tanapa national park authority, more than 28 square kilometers of heathland have burned so far. Tourism minister khamis kigwangalla called for increased efforts to get the rough fire under control during an on-site inspection. An initially announced press conference was canceled at short notice.
Tanapa chief allan kijazi, who briefed the minister on the scene, had said the night before: "but we have managed to contain the fire in rough areas." However, he admitted that the flames continued to rage unabated on difficult to reach new flats. Meanwhile, there were first hopes of rain after a few precipitations in the village of moshi, located at the foot of the mountain. According to tanapa, the blaze broke out at an altitude of just under 3,000 meters for reasons that are still unclear. The high and sometimes difficult-to-reach fire source made the firefighting work difficult.
Since only the southern flank of kilimanjaro is affected, mountain tourism, which was slow to resume after the corona restrictions, has been diverted via other routes. Mountaineers in the mountain massif are still on their way to the summit of kilimanjaro, tanapa spokesman pascal shelutete confirmed.
A tour organizer reported a case in which a fire already considered extinguished returned in the horombo area. Residents there also noticed a strong smoke development on wednesday. It remains unclear whether the huts located there were also victims of the flames.
A group of german, swiss and austrian mountaineers reported to the german press agency from shira camp 2, located at an altitude of about 3900 meters, that above the dense clouds of smoke the view was largely clear on wednesday morning. The clouds were still visible in the background when the group arrived the night before. The group had started its ascent via a route they had been told was dangerous.
The tanapa spokesman had also expressly confirmed that the routes used by tourists were not in danger. At 5895 meters, kilimanjaro is africa’s highest mountain and also tanzania’s landmark.
In the country where on 28. October elections are coming up, mountain tourism is considered an important employer and foreign exchange earner.