KAILUA-KONA — A brush fire that broke out Tuesday morning within Pohakuloa Training Area has burned at least 45 acres, the U.S. Army said Tuesday evening.
The fire, which started around 10 a.m. Tuesday in an area inaccessible to vehicles, is under investigation, said Mike Donnelly, PTA spokesman. No training was taking place in the area of the fire’s ignition in the northeastern corner of PTA, on the northern, or Maunakea, side of Daniel K. Inouye Highway, near mile marker 31.
PTA and Hawaii County firefighters spent the day battling the blaze, relying heavily on helicopters to perform water drops on the flames. As of press time, the fire was burning state land and was flames were about a mile from the highway.
“We are leveraging our aviation assets and Bambi buckets to drop water from our dip tanks on PTA (built specifically for these situations,” Donnelly said via email. “We do not know how long it will take but are treating it with 24/7 operations.”
Training is ongoing, he said, adding PTA is working closely with units from Marine Corps Base Kaneohe to ensure their training continues, and even possibly using some of their assets, such as fuel trucks and unmanned aerial systems, or drones, Donnelly said.
Hawaii County Civil Defense said no road closures had been ordered, however, officials cautioned the highway could be closed without warning.