Brush fire continues to burn on Maunakea slopes

  • Crews work to contain a brush fire Wednesday. (Michael Donnelly / Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • A brush fire continues to burn off Daniel K. Inouye Highway Wednesday near near the Maunakea Access Road. (HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald)

  • A brush fire continues to burn off Daniel K. Inouye Highway Wednesday near near the Maunakea Access Road. (HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald)

  • A Hawaii County helicopter prepares to lift off to conduct water drops Wednesday on the slopes of Maunakea. (PTA/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Smoke rises Wednesday on the slopes of Maunakea amid a brush fire that's scored 100 to 125 acres near Pohakuloa Training Area. (PTA/Special to West Hawaii Today)
  • A brush fire continues to burn off of Daniel K. Inouye Highway Wednesday near near the Mauna Kea Access Road. (HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald)
  • A brush fire continues to burn off of Daniel K. Inouye Highway Wednesday near near the Mauna Kea Access Road. (HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald)
  • A brush fire continues to burn off of Daniel K. Inouye Highway Wednesday near near the Mauna Kea Access Road. (HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald)

KAILUA-KONA — County, state and federal assets continue to battle a brush fire burning on the slopes of Maunakea.

The fire, which broke out about 10 a.m. Tuesday in the northeastern corner of Pohakuloa Training Area, had burned about 110 acres of state and U.S. Army land as of Wednesday afternoon. It’s burning on the slopes of Mauna Kea, about 2 miles north of Daniel K. Inouye Highway and on the Kona side of Mauna Kea Access Road, said PTA spokesman Mike Donnelly.

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“In the last 24 hours, these guys have done a remarkable job containing this fire given the brutal terrain that they’re in,” Donnelly said after observing the fire from a helicopter. The blaze is about 70 percent contained.

Because of the blaze’s location, aerial assets are playing the main role in dousing the flames with two Hawaii County helicopters and one U.S. Army Blackhawk UH60 performing water drops, he said. The Blackhawk has a 300-gallon capacity while the county helicopters can lift 90 gallons.

“They’re just doing routine shifts dropping trying to get in front of it,” Donnelly said.

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Also involved are firefighters from PTA, the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife and Hawaii Fire Department. Two D-12 bulldozers from the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands have been cutting fire breaks.

The fire continues to be monitored 24/7, though aerial operations cease at sunset, Donnelly said. Assets are also stationed at Mauna Kea Access Road as a precautionary measure. No road closues were in effect.

  1. Old Man February 7, 2019 6:35 am

    DLNR mismanaged lands are next. Efforts to save the palila are sadly going to backfire. Removing the ungulates is a major blunder because they were keeping the invasive grasses in check.


  2. beyond kona February 7, 2019 7:02 am

    How do these fires get started, by magic? Two goats playing with matches? Ever year, Arson caused fires are started. Normally occurring in summer, these potentially deadly acts continue occur and go on as unsolved and unpunished crimes on the Big Island.


  3. diverdave February 7, 2019 7:43 am

    Wow! They still haven’t put out this small grass fire. Goodness help us if there was a real big fire here.


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