Fire crews remain at the scene of a major runaway brush fire that broke out in the area of the Keamuku Maneuver Area in Ka'ohe Mauka Ahupua'a, Saddle on Saturday afternoon (July 17th) and leading to the closure of Highway 200 (Daniel K. Inouye Highway) and Old Saddle Road.
Published by: HIRSC - Hawaii Island (Hōlualoa) Team
The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD), the Hawaii Police Department (HPD), and U.S. Army Garrison Fire Department at Pōhakuloa Training Area (PTA Fire) at the scene of a major brush fire in the area below the Kilohana Girl Scout Camp on Old Saddle Road (or area of the 43-mile marker) in Ka'ohe Mauka Ahupua'a, Saddle that was first reported on Saturday afternoon (July 17th).
The initial call came in at 1:29 pm Saturday afternoon and HFD Crews from the Waikoloa, Waimea and South Kohala Fire Stations along with Battalion 2, Chopper 1, Chopper 2, Volunteers from the Waiki'i Ranch, Anekona, Pu'uanahulu, and Kalaoa Mauka Stations, PTA Fire, and HPD Officers from the South Kohala Patrol responded to the scene located below Kilohana Girl Scout Camp in Ka'ohe Mauka Ahupua'a, Saddle.
Preliminary details received was the fire was reported to be burning in an isolated area near high voltage power transmission lines between Old Saddle Road and Highway 200 (Daniel K. Inouye Highway) in the Keamuku Maneuver Area. HFD and PTA Fire had to utilized existing 4x4 roads in the area to reach the seed of the fire. Winds in the area were strong and pushed the fire close to Highway 200 and forced officials to closed Highway 200 between Old Saddle Road junction to Highway 190 (Māmalahoa Highway) to allow HFD and PTA Fire crews to work in the area. A Blackhawk Helicopter from PTA and both HFD Chopper 1 and Chopper 2 continuing to conduct water bucket drops in areas inaccessible by ground units.
As of 4:30 pm Saturday afternoon, the brush fire has burned an estimated 390 acres and continues to burn with the Keamuku Maneuver Area at this time.
Shifting winds in the area made it difficult for fire crews to gain the upper hand of the fire fronts and forcing crews to change focuses on fire fighting efforts in the area and also forced officials to shut down Old Saddle Road between Highway 200 and Highway 190 due to the fast-moving brush fire.
The fire remains out of control at this time and the HIRSC Team will continue to monitor for updates and will post them on the HIRSC Facebook Page, so please follow our page for the latest updates on this incident.