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Kamuela Information Update for December 19th, 2019

Mechanical failure of solar equipment sparks a brush fire that scorches 20 acres of open pasture land near Kamuela (Waimea), South Kohala Tuesday evening (December 17th).

The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) responded to a report of a brush fire that started Tuesday evening (December 17th) in open pasture land just outside of Kamuela (Waimea).

The initial call came in 5:58 pm Tuesday evening and HFD crews from the Waimea, Waikoloa, South Kohala Fire Stations along with Pohakualoa Training Area (PTA) Fire Department (Company 50), Battalion 2, Volunteer 1-1 (HFD Volunteer Division training officer) and volunteers from the Kanehoa, Waiki'i, Pu'uanahulu, and Kalaoa Mauka stations are currently on scene or responding to the scene located near West Hawaii Concrete quarry located off of Highway 190 near the 4-mile marker in Kamuela (Waimea).

Upon the arrival of HFD crews, numerous reporting parties passing by the area reported a small brush fire burning in the open pasture land near the quarry.

Once HFD crews arrived on scene, they found the fire burning approximately 4+ acres of medium brush in open pasture land near the West Hawaii Concrete quarry and immediately worked to gain control of the fire. A privately owned bulldozer from West Hawaii Concrete assisted HFD crews to create a perimeter/fire break around the fire and allowing crews to access the fronts of the fire to prevent any further spread.

HFD crews did encounter a few challenges while working to extinguish the blaze:

  • High winds (blowing at 25-35 mph with gust up to 40 mph) at the time fire had caused the fire to spread quickly, however later slowed down in favor of HFD crews, allowing them to gain control of the fire. A high wind advisory was in effect at the time of the incident and had remained up until 6:00 am Wednesday morning (December 18th).

  • Due to limited water supply at the scene, HFD crews utilized tankers from Waimea, Waikoloa, South Kohala, PTA, Kanehoa, and Waiki'i Stations to haul water to the scene from water supply source located at the West Hawaii Concrete plant near the scene.

HFD crews had the fire under control at 7:10 pm Tuesday evening and had the fire out just before 8:00 pm. HFD crews, however, were still on scene monitoring the area for any hotspots and were expected to continue monitoring the area over the next few days to ensure the fire is fully extinguished. After a final assessment of the fire, later determined it scorched a total of 20 acres.

HFD crews and solar company officials later determined the brush fire was sparked due to the mechanical failure of solar equipment.

No road closures were in effect and also no threat to structures at this time, along with no evacuation orders in place at the time of the fire. No injuries were also reported.

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