Hawaii County Fire Department personnel spent Friday night at the scene of an approximate 8 to 10-acre brush fire that broke out Friday around 11:45 a.m. just makai of Hualalai Road, near Hualalai Elderly Housing, between Kuakini Highway and Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway. They stayed at the scene until the fire was completely out. By noon Saturday, a bulldozer was clearing part of the land and creating new fire breaks.
Smoke from the fire was visible throughout Kailua-Kona early Friday afternoon. Police Chief Harry Kubojiri said the smoke was the reason the County began evacuating some of the residents of the Hualalai Elderly Housing; he said they were never in danger from the fire itself. The County felt the fire was contained enough by 2 p.m. to allow the residents to stay at their homes if they wished. There were no other evacuations called for. Chief Kubojiri said no structures were in danger.
Fuel for the fire was heavy, with lots of tall brush and kiawe trees. The fire started in the same approximate location as the brush fire that raged just below The Pines Subdivision last February 7, 2012. The island is suffering under drought conditions, and the February fire spread quickly and required the evacuation of residents from Hualalai Elderly Housing and the Pines. The Fire Department and Police Department worked well and quickly and no lives were lost, there were no reported injuries, and no structures burned in that fire.
Friday’s fire also had no reported injuries.
A total of 35 firefighters, full time and volunteer, have been involved in fighting the fire. Choppers One and Two did water drops, and there were numerous engines and tankers and other pieces of equipment involved. Hualalai Road between Kuakini Highway and Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway was closed but is open now; however.
The cause of the fire was unknown.
See Friday’s story here: http://www.bigislandnewscenter.com/brush-fire-burning-friday-afternoon-near-hualalai-elderly-housing/