Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa told lawmakers Friday fires burning on Mount Kilimanjaro the past two weeks have been largely contained after hundreds of military personnel were deployed this week to fight the blazes.
Speaking to Tanzania’s parliament, Majaliwa said the fire destroyed some 33 square kilometers of the Kilimanjaro National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is home to many endangered species. He said fires also spread to other areas on the mountain adjacent to the park, but they were contained, and tourist areas were saved.
“Efforts to tackle the fires continue and most areas are under control. The government is still investigating the source of the fires to take appropriate action,” Majaliwa said. He noted that high winds complicated efforts to bring the fires under control.
He reported that 878 soldiers and two helicopters were deployed this week to reinforce civilian firefighters and volunteers battling the blaze in the Karanga area, where the blaze started October 21.
The distinctive, snow-capped mountain is visited annually by thousands of tourists from around the world who come to climb the 5.9-kilometer-high mountain.
Some information for this report was provided by the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.