Also on the fourth day in a row the fire blazes on the southern flank of Kilimanjaro. About 1,000 people – firefighters and volunteers – are still trying to contain the fire. According to the authorities, in the first three days the vegetation in an area of 28 square kilometers was robbed by the flames. This corresponds to the size of almost 4,000 soccer fields.
Fire made at a resting area
The trigger of the devastating fire was probably carelessness. Initial investigations revealed that apparently local porters caused the fire to break out, said a spokesman for the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA). At a resting area on their way from the “Mandara Hut” (2,700 meters) to the “Horombo Hut” (3,720 meters) the porters started a fire to warm up food for tourists. The dry vegetation caught fire. It is a “very dry season and the fire spreads very fast”, said the TANAPA spokesman.
The mentioned wooden huts are located on the “Marangu” route, which is often called the “Coca-Cola route”. This route to the 5,895-meter-high summit with three hut quarters on the way is the most frequented on Kilimanjaro because it is technically easy and does not require camping gear. Year after year about 30,000 people try to climb the highest mountain in Africa. However, due to the corona pandemic, the market on Kilimanjaro also collapsed in 2020.
No wonder that the authorities are trying to play down the fire. There are always fires on Kilimanjaro and nature recovers quickly afterwards, they say. “The fire is now under control,” the spokesman for the national parks announced somewhat hastily yesterday, Tuesday. “And we are ensuring that climbing activities are not affected.”
Update 15 October: According to the newspaper “The Citizen” from Tanzania, also twelve wooden huts, two toilet houses and a solar system were destroyed by the fire in the Horombo Camp at 3,720 meters.
Update 21 October: The national park administration announces that the fire on Kilimanjaro has been put out “by 98 percent”.