Moshi. More than 30 hours since wild fires broke on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, the hungry flames are still raging even as hundreds of fire fighters and volunteers give their all to contain the hungry flames some 2,700 metres above sea level.
The fire has since destroyed several acres of moorlands and as of Monday evening, there were 400 firefighters, a number that later increased to 600 to contain the inferno.
Images taken from Himo showed the flames raging on one of Tanzania’s prime tourist destinations despite authorities committing that it would not affect tourism.
Speaking to The Citizen, Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa) communications official Pascal Shelutete confirmed that despite the efforts, the team has not been able to put out the fire which could be seen as far as 30km away in Moshi town.
“As I speak the fire is still on but we are working around the clock but we haven’t been able to put it out, despite the increase in the number of personnel,” said Shelutete.
Earlier on in the day, Kilimanjaro National Park's (Kinapa) Angella Nyaki told the media that a team of fire fighters which included volunteers, police, scouts, and students had reached the scene.
“The problem is that the fire was huge causing a large area to be burnt due to the strong winds but we are doing our best to limit its spread,” said Ms Nyaki.
There were signs of return to normalcy after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, but prior to that, Mt Kilimanjaro received an average of 50,000 climbers per year.
Though the cause of the fire is yet to be established, sources that have worked close to Kinapa say the constant causes of fires on the mountain are smoking and poaching activities.
This is not the first time that the same area has been burnt: In October 2016, another fire erupted around Shira at an altitude of between 3,500 and 4,000 metres, burning over 3,200 acres of mountain vegetation.
In January 2012, there was another outbreak that was attributed to people who had entered the park to harvest honey.