Keauhou fire now 80% contained

  • NPS firefighters mop-up hot spots on the Keauhou fire in this photo released Monday. (NPS/Special to West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — Firefighters continued efforts Monday to extinguish a 3,739-acre fire on the northeastern slopes of Mauna Loa.

The Keauhou fire is now 80 percent contained and has not expanded in size, remaining mostly within the boundary of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park according to the Southern California Incident Management Team Two of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, which took over command on Friday. Cooler weather and afternoon cloud cover has helped aid firefighters in the effort.

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On Monday, firefighters continued to work on constructing fire line on the northern edge of the fire. They also worked to secure the southern edge south of the Kipuka Ki Special Ecological Area, a cultural heritage area and rare forest habitat for endangered species

Fire crews also worked along the Mauna Loa Road to down a limited number of trees that became hazards from the fire. By proactively taking down these trees, the area becomes not only safer for firefighters, but also for the park’s resource advisers and scientists who are studying the fire area.

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The fire may be visible from Highway 11, especially for Hilo-bound traffic, but is not impacting the road or travel. Mauna Loa Road remains closed.

The cause of the fire, which started about 11 a.m. Aug. 5 outside the park in Keauhou Ranch, is listed as human. A total of 115 personnel have assisted with the blaze.