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.
“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.
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.