Small Brush Fire causes a temporary Highway 19 near Kapehu Camp in North Hilo Monday morning (June 17th)
The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) along with the Hawaii Police Department (HPD) responded to report of a brush fire in the area of Highway 19 between Kapehu Camp and Maulua Gulch in North Hilo Monday morning (June 17th).
The initial call came in at 10:31 am and crews from the Laupahoehoe and Honoka'a Fire Stations along with Battalion 1 responded to scene located north of Maulua Gulch on Highway 19 near Kapehu Gulch.
Upon the arrival of HFD crews, witnesses reported a downed tree had severed a power line and ignited heavy brush in the surrounding area and was growing in size with windy conditions in the area.
Once HFD crews arrived on scene, found an approximate 2-3 acre area burning with no power lines down in the area of the fire. Crews immediately worked to gain control of the brush fire and had the fire under control 1:27 pm and continued with mop-up and wet down operations.
HPD temporarily closed Highway 19 between the 22 and 23-mile marker while crews worked in the area.
At 12:10 pm, Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) received reports of approximately 518 customers in the Honoka'a, Pa'auilo, and O'okala area were without power and troubleshooter was en-route to the scene to investigate and conduct any repairs as needed. HELCO officials believe outage and fire may have been caused by arcing transmission lines, but was awaiting a report from the troubleshooter on the exact cause.
At last check as of 2:45 pm, HELCO and HFD crews were still on scene on Highway 19 near Kapehu Camp.
Details are slowly coming in and will update you as more information becomes available.