Poachers have been blamed for the fire that scorched 36 square kilometers of vegetation of Mount Kilimanjaro in late August and early September, according to a report by a wildlife preservation institution available in DAR ES SALAAM on Wednesday.
The Kilimanjaro National Park authorities said in the report that the fire had raged for almost two weeks, having caused severe environmental damage.
The report said that booby-traps left behind by poachers had indicated the cause of the fire. Poachers roam forests and mountains to kill animals for sales of their meat on the market.
The report has estimated through aerial and map surveys that the fire-destroyed area is some 3,000 meters above sea level but away from the Kilimanjaro climbing routes.
The fire, however, has caused damage to the Rombo water catchment area and may therefore cause floods when the rainy season starts soon later this year.
The Tanzania National Parks spent 15 million shillings (12,000 U. S. dollars) on putting out the fire.
The report by the park authority said that several "base camps" had been set up in nearby villages as watch-out posts for possible future fire outbreaks on the mountain.
Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest mountain, standing at 5, 895 meters above sea level. An average of 40,000 foreigners come to climb the mountain each year.