Fire crews continue to battle a major brush fire that scorched over 400 acres in the Pu'uanahulu Ahupua'a, South Kohala and leading to the closure of Highway 200 (Daniel K. Inouye Highway) Friday afternoon (August 13th).
Published by: HIRSC - Hawaii Island (Hōlualoa) Team
The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) along with the U.S. Army Garrison Fire Department at Pōhakuloa Training Area (PTA Fire), Hawaii Police Department (HPD), and Department of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) remain at the scene of a major brush fire along Highway 200 (Daniel K. Inouye Highway or Saddle Road) in Pu'uanahulu Ahupua'a, South Kohala Friday afternoon (August 13th).
The initial call came in at 1:41 pm Friday afternoon and HFD Crews from the Waikoloa, South Kohala, North Kohala, and Waimea Fire Stations along with Battalion 2, Chopper 1, Chopper 2, Volunteers from the Anekona, Pu'uanahulu, Waiki'i Ranch, and Kohala Ranch Stations, DOFAW Fire Crews, PTA Fire, and HPD Officers from the South Kohala Patrol responded to the scene located at the 48.5-mile marker of Highway 200 in the Pu'uanahulu Ahupua'a, South Kohala.
Preliminary details received were numerous calls came into 911 reporting a brush fire burning along the south shoulder of Highway 200 near the 48.5-mile marker and burning very dry brush moving towards the southeast. Winds in the area were breezy (average 25-30 mph at the time) and quickly pushing the fire further into the Pu'uanahulu Ranch area. Unable to immediately reach the fire fronts, HFD Crews took a defensive stance along Highway 200, while Chopper 1 and Chopper 2 along with a U.S. Army UH-60 Blackhawk MEDEVAC helicopter conducted water bucket drops in areas inaccessible by ground personnel.
Due to the rapid-fire spread and fire crews working in the area. HPD Officers closed Highway 200 between Highway 190 (Māmalahoa Highway) and Old Saddle Road. Motorists were redirected to use Old Saddle Road as a detour while crews worked to gain control of the brush fire.
Bulldozers from PTA were en route to the brush fire scene to begin cutting breaks around the perimeter of the brush fire to ensure no further spread and containment of the brush fire.
As of 8:00 pm, the brush fire was only 50% contained and had scorched an estimated 400 acres per PTA Officials (however, HFD officials estimated 210 acres had been scorched).
Highway 200 will remain closed for the remainder of the evening and will reassess conditions on Saturday morning (August 14th).