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Punalu'u Information Update for December 26th, 2020

The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) continues to battle two brush fires, one near Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Park and another 1 mile south of Pahala Town in Ka'ū Saturday afternoon (December 26th).

Published by: HIRSC - Nevada (Las Vegas) Team

The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) is at the scene of two brush fires in the area of the Sea Mountain Condos above Punalu'u Black Sand Beach Park and another 1 mile south of Pahala town in Ka'ū that broke out Saturday afternoon (December 26th).

The initial call came in at 12:49 pm Saturday afternoon and HFD Crews from the Pahala, HOVE (Hawaiian Ocean View Estates), Pahoa, Volcano Fire Stations along with Battalion 1, Chopper 1, Volunteers from the Pahala, Na'alehu, Discovery Harbor, Kona Paradise, Kalaoa Mauka, Hawaiian Paradise Park, and Ocean View Stations and HPD Officers from the Ka'ū Patrol responded to the scene located near the tennis courts of Sea Mountain Condos.

Upon the arrival of emergency crews to the first brush fire broke out in a remote area between the tennis courts and golf course and currently burning in dry heavy brush moving to the southwest towards the Sea Mountain Condos. Due to culturally sensitive sites and limited access in the area, HFD ground crews are working to extinguish the fire from Ninole Loop Road and Sea Mountain Golf Course. Chopper 1 also conducting water bucket drops in areas inaccessible by HFD ground personnel. A privately contracted bulldozer arrived at the scene late Saturday afternoon and began to cut a break around the fronts of the fire near the golf course and Ninole Loop Road.

The brush fire has scorched an estimated 5 acres at this time and the fire has reached along Ninole Loop Road by Sea Mountain Condos and currently, HPD has closed the Na'alehu side of Ninole Loop Road between Punalu'u Black Sand Beach to Highway 11 while HFD crews continue to work in the area.

In the process of battling the first brush fire, At 3:55 pm Saturday afternoon, HFD Chopper 1 discovered another brush fire that was burning approximately a mile makai (oceanside) of Highway 11 (Volcano Highway) and approximately 1 mile south of Pahala Town. Following the discovery, a handful of HFD personnel and equipment from the Punalu'u brush fire relocated to the scene and work to gain control of the second brush fire.

Due to the location, HFD crews had to utilize 4x4 brush trucks and tankers to reach the scene on the ground and Chopper 1 continued making water bucket drops to both incidents.

Based on estimations made by HFD crews and HIRSC Team members passing by in the area, the fire is approximately 4-5 acres in size and currently burning in a macadamia nut farm/field burning towards a nearby dry Pā'au'au Gulch. The fire remains active, but under control at this time.

HFD crews will continue to monitor both scenes overnight and both HFD Chopper 1 and Chopper 2 will resume and conduct water bucket operations at first light Sunday morning (December 27th).

No injuries or damage to property have been reported at this time. The cause of both fires is under investigation.

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