Vehicle fire sparks approximately 50-acre brush fire in the area of Kaiholena in North Kohala early Wednesday morning (September 2nd).
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 vehicle and brush fire along Akoni Pule Highway (Highway 270) near Kaiholena early Wednesday morning (September 2nd).
The initial call came in at 2:26 am Wednesday morning and HFD crews from the North Kohala, South Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa (Tanker 16) Fire Stations along with Battalion 2, Chopper 2, volunteers from the Kohala Ranch and Anekona Stations, and HPD officers from the North Kohala Patrol responded to the scene located at the 12-mile marker on Akoni Pule Highway near Kaiholena.
Upon the arrival of emergency crews, a call from came in from a passerby reporting an abandoned vehicle was set on fire in the area of Kaiholena (also known as Sapphire Cove) and fire from the vehicle had spread to the brush was quickly spreading with the moderate winds and heading towards the shoreline.
Once emergency crews arrived at the scene, they found an active burning brush fire in the area between the 11 and 12.5-mile markers on Akoni Pule Highway and immediately worked to prevent further spread along the North, East, and West perimeters of the fire. A couple of individuals camping and fishing along the coastline near Kaiholena were able to safely exit the area.
HFD crews encountered a couple of challenges with this brush fire:
Due to limited access, HFD crews utilized numerous 4x4 Brush Trucks and Tankers to access the North and South flanks using existing fire breaks from previous fires in the area to secure a perimeter around the fire.
Chopper 2 later responded at first light Wednesday morning and began conducting a water bucket drop in areas inaccessible by ground crews.
Water supply in the area of the fire scene was very limited and HFD crews utilized also two large size tankers to shuttle water to the scene from a water supply source down the road near Kohala Estates.
Parts of the brush fire is burning in a heavily forested area of kiawe trees and tree roots underground, making it difficult for fire crews to fully extinguish this fire. HFD crews are going by hand in those areas and thoroughly wetting down those hot-spots to prevent flare-ups from occurring.
Due to the amount of HFD crews working in the area at the beginning of the incident, HPD officers temporarily closed Akoni Pule Highway as a precaution and later reopened the highway to traffic just after 6:00 am Wednesday morning as crews gain control of the fire.
Thanks to hard efforts by HFD crews, they were able to have the fire under control just after 6:45 am and would remain on scene through the next several days monitoring for hot-spots and flare-ups.
HFD crews estimate the fire burned approximately 50 acres of open pasture land along Akoni Pule Highway and no injuries and also no damage structures were reported related to this fire.