Updated: Jul 15, 2021
The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) continues to monitor and battle a major brush fire that started near the Kamuela View Estates subdivision in Kamuela, South Kohala Tuesday evening (July 13th).
Published by: HIRSC - Hawaii Island (Hōlualoa) Team
The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) along with the Hawaii Police Department (HPD) remain at the scene of a major brush fire that broke out near the Kamuela View Estates subdivision in Kamuela, South Kohala Tuesday evening (July 13th).
The initial call came in at 8:56 pm Tuesday evening and HFD Crews from the Waimea, South Kohala, and North Kohala Fire Stations along with Battalion 2, Volunteers from the Anekona, Waiki'i, Kohala Ranch, and Kalaoa Mauka Stations, and HPD Officers from the South and North Kohala Patrol responded to the scene at the 4-mile marker off of Kohala Mountain Road (Highway 250) in Kamuela, South Kohala.
Preliminary details received was an initially came in as a small brush fire that broke out near the Waiulaula Gulch off of Highway 250 at the 4.5-mile marker, however, upon the arrival of emergency crews, high winds in the area, blowing from the Northeast had pushed the fire drastically out of reach of HFD personnel and began progressing towards Kamuela View Estates subdivision below the Waiulaula Gulch. The fire grew from an acre to over 50+ acres in a matter of an hour due to the gusty conditions.
Following that determination, HFD personnel immediately focused efforts on protecting residences and any structures along the south (or makai side) flank of the fire and prevent fire from jumping Highway 19 (Kawaihae Road). HPD Officers went door to door to notify residents in the area of the fire and be prepared to evacuate should the call be made too, however, no mandatory evacuation orders were made and some residents had left the area under an abundance of their own personal safety.
Access in the area was very limited and difficult due to the terrain in the area and a request for private bulldozers was made to help with creating new breaks around the fronts of the fire. The fire was moving in all different directions due to the windy conditions and did make it also challenging for HFD crews to gain the upper hand quickly and came fairly close to some residence along Kawaihae Road.
HPD had temporarily closed Kawaihae Road between Mahua Street and the 62-mile marker to allow HFD personnel to work in the area, however, Kawaihae Road was since reopened.
As of 3:00 am Wednesday morning, HFD crews had a good handle of the brush fire and fairly well contained, and bulldozers were continuing to cut breaks around the fire between the 'Ōuli Gulch and Kukui Gulch. The fire had burned an estimated 120+ acres. Both HFD Chopper 1 and Chopper 2 are expected to arrive at the scene later this morning to continue with mop-up operations and extinguishment in hard-to-reach areas such as the inside the gulches.
The cause of the fire remains unknown at this time and no injuries to HFD, HPD, or residents have been reported.