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All Hands on Deck to Save Kilimanjaro

Tanzanian firefighters were battling for a third day on Tuesday to control a blaze on the slopes of Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro. The fire, initially fanned by strong winds, erupted on Sunday at the Whona area, a rest centre for climbers using Mandara and Horombo, two of the routes tourists take up the mountain. Officials said winds had weakened on Tuesday. Tanzania National Park Service (TANAPA) official Pascal Shelutete told Reuters that firefighters and others were getting the blaze under control, saying it was “almost contained”. Hundreds of firefighters, residents and students in the area joined the effort to battle the blaze on Kilimanjaro, which rises to almost 6,000 metres above sea level. “The weather is calm and there is no heavy wind that can spread the fire to other areas,” said Alex Kisingo, deputy head at the nearby College of African Wildlife Management, which has sent students and staff to fight the fire. He said the blaze could be contained by Tuesday evening, if the calm weather continued. Local newspaper reports that National Park spokesman Pascal Shelutete said the initial investigation found the fire started Sunday by porters servicing climbers at the Whona rest area.

SOURCE: REUTERS

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