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Lapakahi Information Update # 2 for September 25th, 2020

A brush fire that started Friday afternoon (September 25th) near the 13-mile marker on Akoni Pule Highway (Highway 270) in North Kohala scorches 40-acres.

Published by: HIRSC - Hawaii Island (Holualoa) Team


The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) along with the Hawaii Police Department (HPD) responded to a report of a brush fire that started near the 13-mile marker on Akoni Pule Highway (Highway 270) that started Friday afternoon (September 25th).

The initial call came in 1:01 pm Friday afternoon and HFD crews from the North Kohala, South Kohala, Waimea, and Waikoloa Fire Stations along with Battalion 2, Chopper 2, Chopper 1, volunteers from the Kohala Ranch and Anekona Stations, and HPD officers from the North Kohala patrol responded to the scene located near the 13-mile marker on Akoni Pule Highway just south of Lapakahi State Historical Park.

Upon the arrival of emergency crews, numerous reports including one from our HIRSC Administrators, who was traveling in the area prior to the initial dispatch immediately notified HFD of the fire, which was burning along the makai (ocean) side of Akoni Pule Highway and onshore winds were blowing towards the mauka (mountain) direction. Windy conditions in the area, cause the brush fire to jump Highway 270 and continued burning on the mauka side of the highway. Smoke from the brush fire was visible as far away as Kawaihae Village.

Once emergency crews arrived at the scene, HFD crews immediately worked to gain control of the fire along the mauka side of Akoni Pule Highway. A couple of challenges HFD crews ran into while battling this brush fire were:

  • Limited access to the perimeter of the fire caused HFD ground crews to utilized existing fire breaks and stretch multiple hand lines into the fire area. Chopper 1 and 2 arrived in the area and conducted water bucket drops in areas inaccessible by HFD ground crews. A privately contracted bulldozer was responding to the scene to create a fire break around the burn area.

  • Due to the limited water supply at the scene, HFD personnel utilized Type I Engines and Tanker/Tender to shuttle water to the scene from a water supply source located near Puakea Ranch.

Thanks to quick response and fire fighting efforts by HFD personnel and equipment, the fire was declared under control just before 3:00 pm Friday afternoon and had scorched an estimated 40 acres in total along Akoni Pule Highway at the 13-mile marker. HFD crews will remain at the scene through the night to monitor for any hotspots or flare-ups within the burn area.

Due to emergency crews working in the area and smokey conditions forced HPD officers to close Akoni Pule Highway between Kohala Ranch and Mahukona Beach Park Road. Motorists traveling between Kawaihae and Hawi were asked to use Kohala Mountain Road (Highway 250) as an alternate route.

No injuries were reported and also no damage to structures was also reported. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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