A massive fire has broken out on Tanzania’s famous Mount Kilimanjaro, where locals and park rangers have joined firefighters to help bring the blaze under control.

The cause of the fire, near the Karanga camp at nearly 4,000 m altitude, is still unknown.

It erupted Friday night on the mountain’s south side, along one of its most popular climbing routes.

Videos show plumes of thick black smoke rising on the horizon behind a tent camp and violent red flames licking the side of the mountain.

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A local tour guide operator told Sky News he believed the lack of rain and wind could affect the Mount Kilimanjaro fire.

Abraham Moshi, who runs local tour guide company Exuberant Kilimanjaro Safaris, said he saw the fire for the first time on Friday night from his home in Moshi, a town south of the mountain.

“We were barbecuing outside. We saw big huge flames coming from the side of the mountain. We didn’t know what it was at first,” he told Sky News.

“We started taking videos but nobody knew what it was until Saturday, [when] it was reported that there was a large fire.”

The blaze is ongoing and some of its employees have been helping officials fight the blaze, who say it is burning in nearby shrubbery but not on nearby trails or campsites, he added.

“Right now it’s the dry season, we’re still pretty much in the dry season. The rains are supposed to start now until November, but we still haven’t received any rain yet. It’s about near dry and windy – this could affect the fire” he warned.

Photo: Jackson Mauki, Exuberant Kilimanjaro Safaris
Image:
Photo: Jackson Mauki, Exuberant Kilimanjaro Safaris
Photo: Jackson Mauki, Exuberant Kilimanjaro Safaris
Image:
Photo: Jackson Mauki, Exuberant Kilimanjaro Safaris

Rising to 5,895 meters above sea level, Mount Kilimanjaro, located in the northeast of the country, is the highest peak in Africa.

Authorities have yet to determine how the fire started. In October 2020, a fire raged over some 37 square miles for over a week.

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