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Fire on Mount Kilimanjaro reignites

A view of Mount Kilimanjaro seen from Kimana Sanctuary in Kajiado south sub county on September 25, 2022.   -  
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FREDRIK LERNERYD/AFP or licensors -

Tanzania

A wildfire that officials thought was under control on Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro has reignited, Tanzanian officials said on Tuesday.

The blaze began on Friday evening near the Karanga site used by climbers ascending the famous peak, at about 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) altitude on its south side.

Hard winds helped fan the fire but a team of some 400 people, including students and volunteers, battled to contain it on Sunday before it lit up in other pockets.

"Fires erupted again last night in three places that were previously under control," Eliamani Sedoyeka, permanent secretary at the natural resources and tourism ministry, told reporters.

"By this afternoon, one area was controlled and efforts are ongoing to contain others."

So far, no injuries or deaths have been reported.

Sedoyeka said the blaze wasn't posing a threat to tourists on the mountain, a major draw for both trekkers and climbers.

"We see good progress in fighting the fires and if the weather does not change, we will control the situation soon," he said.

Tanzanian authorities are yet to comment on the extent of the damage.

The risk of catastrophic wildfires is growing around the world as climate change fuels tinder-dry conditions.

Scientists have warned that human-induced climate change is making extreme weather events, including heatwaves and droughts, more frequent and intense.

Mount Kilimanjaro, with its snow-capped peak, is known around the world.

The forests surrounding it form part of a national park, and Kilimanjaro National Park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, in part because many endangered species live there.

The latest blaze at the mountain comes two years after another fire raged for a week in October 2020 across 95 square kilometers (37 square miles).

***AFP***

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