KAILUA-KONA — A brush fire scorched about 16 acres near the Hokulia Golf Course Monday evening.
Just before 5 p.m., Hawaii Fire Department crews responded to the private residential community, south of the Mamalahoa Bypass near the bottom of Halekii Street. When they arrived on scene, flames were burning through brush, including haole koa and pili grass.
When the fire broke out, the golf course was immediately shut down. It is unknown if anyone was golfing at the time of the incident. However, there were no reported injuries.
The fire was controlled about two hours later at 7:30 p.m. and was contained between fairways on three sides with heavy fuel load along the bottom edge of the fire, according to Hawaii Fire Department. Crews were unable to cut a firebreak across the bottom of the fire due to numerous archeological and historical sites.
The fire was contained between golf course holes one and 18, said Mike Vitousek, cultural resource manager at Hokulia. In the area are two historic trails Old Government Road and Alaloa Trail.
Crews connected to a water source at the clubhouse and pulled several hundred feet of hose to get to the scene of the fire.
Vitousek said the flames were contained on the mauka side by the golf course’s sprinkler system. The only side open was the west side, where Alaloa Trail falls.
“They were concerned about how they could get in there without doing any damage,” Vitousek said of responding firefighters.
Vitousek was on scene with crews and was able to direct them to an area of the trail where there had been a previous breach. Crews were able to cross Alaloa Trail in a vehicle to get to the scene of the fire with minimal disturbance to the ground.
“The fire department did a phenomenal job,” he added. “They took a low-impact approach in fighting the fire and they pulled it off.”
Vistousek said the Alaloa Trail is hundreds of years old and runs intermittently through the area while some portions no longer exist.
Fire crews remained on scene overnight to watch for hotspots and prevent any possible spreading of the fire. Firefighters continued mop up at the golf course into Tuesday. The cause of the fire remains undetermined at this time.