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Ka'u Information Update # 2 for October 4th, 2019

HFD crews continue to battle a large brush fire that started near South Point in Ka'u late Thursday night (October 3rd).

The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) is currently on scene of a large brush fire off of South Point Road near Kaulana Bay (South Point Boat Ramp) that started late Thursday night (October 3rd).

The initial call came in at 9:58 pm and crews from the Na'alehu, Pahala, Hawaiian Ocean View Estates (HOVE), Kea'au, and Captain Cook Fire Stations along with Battalion 1 and volunteers from the Na'alehu, Ocean View, Discovery Harbor, Pahala, and Volcano stations responded to scene located 1-mile above Kaulana Bay off of South Point Road.

The fire is currently burning inside open pasture land located within South Point Park and has already burned approximately 40-50+ acres and around 2:15 am Friday morning (October 4th), HFD crews had the west front of the fire under control, however a lot of hotspots/burning within the burn area were still active and working to extinguish and prevent further spread.

HFD crews are currently encountering a few challenges with this brush fire:

  • One of the challenges they encountered was the gusty trade winds, which were blowing from the NE at 25-30 mph, causing the fire to move quickly to the west towards South Point Road, where HFD crews set up a fire line to prevent further advancement and jumping South Point Road. (Smoke was visible on infrared satellite images near Ka Lae (South Point), see below)

  • Another challenge HFD crews encountered was limited water supply in the area, in which HFD utilized two tankers (one 2,000-gallon tanker from Pahala and one 3,000-gallon tanker from Central Fire Station in Hilo) to shuttle water from a supply point in Discovery Point to the scene. Engines on scene are also shuttling water to and from the supply point in Discovery Harbor.

  • They also encountered limited road access to the parts of the fire and are having to utilize smaller 4x4 vehicles (brush truck units) to reach deep spots of the fire in the open pasture land. HFD Chopper 1 arrived on scene at first light Friday morning (October 4th) to begin water bucket operations and expected to continue through the day.

  • Also, HFD crews are currently working on getting a bulldozer to the scene to help with cutting breaks around the perimeter of the fire. However, no ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) was given.

HIRSC team is aware and was also sent a copy of a video from social media on what may have caused the brush fire in South Point. HFD and HPD officials also are aware of the witness reports and the video and say they have not determined the cause or origin of the fire at this time. And efforts are at this time are focused on containing/gaining control of the fire prior to beginning their investigation.

Currently, the following road and facilities closures are in effect as of 9:00 am:

The Hawaii Fire Department reports a brush fire at South Point. Fire Department operations extend along South Point Road from the South Point and Kaalaualu Road intersection.

Due to the brush fire, the following are in effect;

  • The boat ramp and Ka Lae Cliffs are closed.

  • The area is expected to be closed throughout the day.

This is an ongoing incident and will continue to provide more updates as it becomes available.

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