The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) continues to battle two brush fires in Ka'ū (One above Punalu'u Black Sand Beach and the other one mile south of Pahala town) that scorched over 130 acres in total Sunday, December 27th.
Published by: HIRSC - Nevada (Las Vegas) and Hawaii Island (Holualoa) Team
The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) remains at the scene of two brush fires in the area of the Sea Mountain Condos above Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Park and another 1 mile south of Pahala town in Ka'ū that both broke out Saturday afternoon (December 26th).
The initial call came in at 12:49 pm Saturday afternoon and HFD Crews from the Pahala, HOVE (Hawaiian Ocean View Estates), Kea'au, Pahoa, Volcano Fire Stations along with Battalion 1, Chopper 1, Volunteers from the Pahala, Na'alehu, Discovery Harbor, Kona Paradise, Kalaoa Mauka, Hawaiian Paradise Park, and Ocean View Stations and HPD Officers from the Ka'ū Patrol responded to the scene located near the tennis courts of Sea Mountain Condos.
Upon the arrival of emergency crews to the first brush fire broke out in a remote area between the tennis courts and golf course and currently burning in dry heavy brush moving to the southwest towards the Sea Mountain Condos.
Due to culturally sensitive sites and limited access in the area, HFD ground crews are working to extinguish the fire from Ninole Loop Road and Sea Mountain Golf Course. Chopper 1 also conducting water bucket drops in areas inaccessible by HFD ground personnel. A privately contracted bulldozer arrived at the scene late Saturday afternoon and began to cut a break around the fronts/perimeter of the fire near the golf course and Ninole Loop Road.
Through Saturday night into early Sunday morning, HFD crews were able to have the fire under control/contained and has scorched an estimated 40 acres between Sea Mountain Golf Course and Ninole Loop Road above Sea Mountain Condos. HPD had initially closed Ninole Loop Road near Sea Mountain Condos due to the fire, however, since reopened it to all traffic.
In the process of battling the first brush fire, At 3:55 pm Saturday afternoon, HFD Chopper 1 discovered another brush fire that was burning approximately a mile makai (oceanside) of Highway 11 (Volcano Highway) and approximately 1 mile south of Pahala Town. Following the discovery, a handful of HFD personnel and equipment from the Punalu'u brush fire relocated to the scene and work to gain control of the second brush fire.
Due to the location, HFD crews had to utilize 4x4 brush trucks and tankers to reach the scene on the ground and Chopper 1 continued making water bucket drops to both incidents until sunset on Saturday evening (December 26th). Chopper 1 returned to the scene at first light and continued with water bucket operations.
Based on estimations made by HFD crews and HIRSC Team members passing by in the area, the fire is approximately 90 acres in size and currently burning in a macadamia nut farm/field burning towards a nearby dry Pā'au'au Gulch. The fire still remains active at this time.
Highway 11 remains open to all traffic and HPD advising motorists to use caution in the area as HFD crews are still working in the area and emergency vehicles traversing from a 4x4 road to the fire scene onto Highway 11.
HFD crews will continue to complete mop-up and wet down operations at both fires and expected to be in both areas over the next few days to ensure the fires are fully extinguished. Both fires have scorched a total of over 130 acres.
No injuries or damage to property have been reported at this time. The cause of both fires is under investigation.