Volcanic mountains

Video shows forest fire on Mount Longonot in Kenya, not volcanic eruption

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

A video shared with claims that it shows an active eruption on Mount Longonot in Kenya has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter. However, this is wrong; the Kenya Wildlife Society (KWS) confirmed to AFP Fact Check that there was no volcanic eruption but that a fire broke out and ravaged around 40 hectares on the mountainside.

On October 27, 2022, a Facebook post shared video of what appears to be a nighttime fire in the distance and accompanying audio (partly in Kikuyu) claiming the footage depicts a volcanic eruption at Mount Longonot.

“Just witnessed an eruption of Mount Longonot… Lava is now flowing from the mountain…” reads the caption of the Publishviewed over 3,200 times.

A screenshot of the fake Facebook post, taken on October 28, 2022

On Twitter, an account with more than 42,000 followers share the same video alongside the caption: “UPDATE: Volcanic eruption currently at Mount Longonot.” The video has been viewed over 77,000 times and retweeted over 500 times.

A screenshot of the fake tweet, taken on October 28, 2022

Mount Longonot is a off volcano located in the Great Rift Valley region of Kenya and is one of the busiest mountains in the country. Extinct volcanoes are those that scientists don’t expect to erupt in the future, as opposed to dormant volcanoes which are those that haven’t erupted in a long time but could still wake up.

The last eruption of Mount Longonot is believed to have taken place in the 1860s.

No rash

No volcanic eruption was reported in the Kenyan media. The Kenya Wildlife Society (KWS), the government body in charge of Mount Longonot Park, has dismissed the claims online.

“There was no volcanic eruption from the mountain as reported by some media platforms. We assure that the park is safe for all visitors,” KWS said in a statement.

KWS said there was a fire on the south side of Mount Longonot National Park reported on October 27, 2022, which destroyed around 40 hectares of bushland.

“An emergency response team dispatched to the scene successfully contained and finally extinguished the inferno this morning (Friday October 28, 2022),” the statement read.

KWS communications manager Paul Jinaro told AFP Fact Check that the cause of the fire has not yet been established.

AFP Fact Check received photos of hikers Outdoorer KE on October 29, 2022, showing the scorched section of Mount Longonot still smoldering.

Image provided to AFP Fact Check by Outdoorer KE on October 29, 2022

Additionally, the Facebook account that first posted the video later claimed that what they “witnessed…could also be a forest fire.”

October 29, 2022 UPDATE: Added picture of Mt Longonot showing fire-ravaged section