Tanzania: Kilimanjaro Fire - Tanapa Now to Buy Chopper for Firefight and Rescue Missions

Tanzania National Parks has deployed about 400 people to fight the fire on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Moshi — The Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Dr Hamis Kigwangala has said government will purchase helicopters which, among other activities, will be used to deal with wild fires National Parks

In addition to buying the helicopter, the minister has instructed the Tanzania National Parks Agency (Tanapa) and the Kilimanjaro National Park (Kinapa) to invest in firefighting infrastructure.

Dr Kigwangala issued the directive on the fourth day since the fire broke out on Mt Kilimanjaro with firefighters working around the clock to put it off.

"I have instructed Tanapa and Kinapa to be prepared to fight disasters like this. Although we have a firefighting plan, I have now ordered us to be executed, "he said.

According to him there is need to invest more in permanent firefighting infrastructure.

"We have fire extinguishers here and there but it is small. We need to keep bigger and more modern equipment in place," said Kigwangala

He added: We need to set points that we can tap water from the flowing rivers and streams so that we can use them in the event of a fire outbreaks like this," said Kigwagala .

He said there were already have strategies to buy a helicopter for Tanapa but now that need is even more urgent .

"Now we need to buy it and to build our capacity to fight such fire, it will have buckets that will be placed on helicopters."

He said the investigation into the source of the fire was still ongoing although there were mixed feelings but so far there is no direct answer to what caused the fire.

"It is largely a forested area known as the alpine ecologic zone which is the third of the five regions of Mount Kilimanjaro."

He added: So the dense forest area of the reserve has not been affected and also the high snow area has not been affected. The effects are not so big ecologically but because only about 1.6 per cent of the total area is protected.

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