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Ka'upulehu Information Update for February 13th, 2021

Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) contains a large brush fire that scorched over 198 acres in the Ka'upulehu Ahupua'a near the Nanea Golf Course in North Kona on Thursday, February 11th.

Published by: HIRSC - Hawaii Island (Holualoa) and Administration/Moderating Team

The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) continues to monitor the scene of a large brush fire that broke out in a remote area just north of the Nanea Golf Course (Ka'upulehu Development) in North Kona Thursday, February 11th.

The initial call came in at 12:58 pm Thursday afternoon and HFD Crews from the South Kohala, Waikoloa, Waimea (Tanker 9), Kailua-Kona, and Makalei Fire Station along with Battalion 2, Chopper 1, Chopper 2, and Volunteers from the Kalaoa Mauka and Anekona Station responded to the scene located approximately 2 miles mauka (mountain side) of Queen Kaahumanu Highway in the area of Nanea Golf Course (or closer reference would be 1.25 miles below Highway 190 at the 27-mile marker).

Upon the arrival of emergency crews, reports came in from passer-by and bystanders reporting a brush fire burning in a remote area just north of the Nanea Golf Course (above the Four Seasons Hualalai Resort area) in Ka'upulehu Ahupua'a in North Kona. Smoke from the fire was visible from all throughout the Waikoloa Resort and the Pu'uanahulu area. Winds in the area at the time of the first report were variable and blowing up to 15 mph to the North-Northeast.

Once emergency crews arrived at the scene, HFD ground crews had difficulty accessing the fronts of the fire and used Chopper 2 to conduct water bucket drops for the initial fire attack and focus on battling the northeast front of the fire (closest to Highway 190). HFD ground crews utilized 4x4 off-road vehicles to access the heel of the fire and immediately began ground fire attack and working to contain the southwest flank from further spread towards the Nanea Golf Course.

Water supply at the scene was very limited and HFD crews utilized multiple tankers to shuttle water to the staging area from a water supply source located a mile down on a service road above the Ka'upulehu Resort area. HFD Choppers also utilized a large water reservoir connected to Nanea Golf Course during the initial attack and HFD ground personnel later set up frog ponds (portable water pools for chopper water bucket) to assist with wildland fire fighting operations.

Two privately contracted bulldozers had later arrived at the scene and began cutting fire breaks around the perimeter of the fire. HFD crews are also staged along Highway 190 (Mamalahoa Highway) near the 27-mile marker as a precaution to monitor the fire movement and also stage in the event the fire began moving towards the highway.

HFD ground crews worked with the personnel from the Department of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) to help locate existing off-road breaks that would help reach the fronts of the fire and allow ground crews to begin containment.

NASA Fire Map Image of the Ka'upulehu Brush Fire

HFD crews say the brush fire was burning in between a couple of natural fire breaks (open lava fields/flows) which aided fire crews with containment. Eventually, HFD crews were able to gain control of the fire just after sunset on Thursday evening.

HFD crews on Friday continued with mop-up operations Friday, February 11th, and will continue to remain at the scene monitoring the area for any hot-spots or flare-ups that may occur within the burn area over the next couple of days.

During the course of this incident, the brush fire had scorched an estimated 198 acres of open pasture land near the Pu'uwa'awa'a Ranch and Hualalai Ranch. No structures were damaged, no evacuations or road closures were needed, and no injuries were reported to bystanders or fire personnel.

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