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Umikoa Information Update # 2 for February 24th, 2020

50-acre brush fire keeps Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) crews kept busy all-day Monday (February 24th) in Kukaiau, Hamakua.

The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) to a report of a brush fire burning in open pasture land above Umikoa Village in Hamakua, which started Monday morning (February 24th).

The initial call came in at just before 8:01 am Monday morning and HFD crews from the Honoka'a, Waimea, and South Kohala Fire Stations along with Battalion 1, Chopper 1, Chopper 2, and volunteers from Pa'auilo and Anekona Stations responded to the scene located approximately 1-mile above Umikoa Village (located between Umikoa Village and Mana Road) in Kukaiau.

Upon the arrival of HFD crews, reports came in that a brush fire was burning in open pasture land located approximately 1-mile above Umikoa Village in the area of Kukaiau with smoke visible from as far as Kamuela and Laupahoehoe.

Once HFD crews arrived on the scene, they encountered a few challenges while working gain control of the brush fire:

  • The location of the fire presented a challenge that required the use of 4x4 vehicles (off-road brush trucks, tankers, and Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV)) and also of both Chopper 1 and Chopper 2, which conducted water bucket operations and also help guided crews to fronts of the fire. The fire was moving at a slow rate towards Mana Road with weather conditions in favor of HFD crews.

  • Foggy conditions in the afternoon caused both Chopper 1 and Chopper 2 to cease water bucket operations.

  • A total of 3 bulldozers, 2 from private contractors and 1 from the Department of Public Works (DPW) were utilized to create a fire break around the perimeter of the brush fire. Allowing HFD crews to contain the fire and prevent further spread along the northern slope of Maunakea and towards Mana Road.

  • Due to limited water supply, HFD crews utilized tankers to shuttle water to and from the water supply source located down the road from the scene. Crews also utilized a private water tanker located near the scene.

HFD crews were able to have the fire under control/contained just after 1:30 pm Monday afternoon and crews will remain on scene through Monday evening, monitoring for hot-spots. HFD estimates the fire burned 50 acres of open pasture land.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. No injuries or damage to structures were reported as a result of the fire.

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