Solar equipment ‘mechanical failure’ sparks brush fire

KAILUA-KONA — A mechanical failure of solar equipment apparently sparked a brush fire Tuesday evening in Waimea.

Responding to the 5:47 p.m. alarm, firefighters arrived at the area of Kawaihae Road and Kanehoa Street to find about 20 acres burning, according to a media release from the Hawaii Fire Department. The fire was located near West Hawaii Concrete on Parker Ranch land leased by Makani Solar.

The solar company’s representatives told firefighters that the fire was ignited by a “mechanical failure of solar equipment,” according to the release.

The fire was fanned by northeast winds of 20 mph, with higher gusts, that switched while firefighters were battling the blaze, forcing units to relocate to the fire’s east side to prevent it from crossing the roadway. Despite that, firefighters kept the fire to approximately 20 acres.

“HFD was assisted in containing this fire by the rapid response of many volunteer fire companies, Pohakuloa Training Area firefighters and a D-9 bulldozer made possible by the combined efforts of Parker Ranch, Bertelmann Construction and West Hawaii Concrete,” the press release read.

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