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Tanzania Deploys Army to Battle Mt. Kilimanjaro Wildfire

A view of Mount Kilimanjaro seen from Kimana Sanctuary in Kajiado south sub county on September 25, 2022. (Photo by Fredrik Lerneryd / AFP)

Tanzania on Tuesday mobilized soldiers to reinforce civilian firefighters and volunteers stretched thin by a wildfire on Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, which has been blazing for more than 10 days. 

"The officers have already arrived at the mountain and are ready to put out the fire," Tanzania People's Defense Forces (TPDF) said in a statement, without giving numbers.

"We will cooperate with the other forces and volunteers to make sure that the fire is quickly put under control before it causes serious damage," the TPDF said.

The fire started on October 21 near the Karanga site used by climbers ascending the famous peak, at about 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) altitude on its south side.

It has since lit up in other pockets and overwhelmed a team of nearly 600 people, including students using twigs and branches to put out the fire.

The government last week thought the fire was under control before high winds spread it to three other places.

So far, no injuries or deaths have been reported and tourism has not been affected, according to the government.

Officials have not yet established how the fire started, but it comes exactly two years after another blaze, which raged for a week in October 2020 across 95 square kilometers (37 square miles).