8:30 a.m. Update: Police have reopened Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway northbound lane, Thursday morning, 8:30 a.m. Both lanes open, very congested, smoke in area still as fire fight still goes on.
Hawaii Police Department reports Thursday morning at 6:30 a.m. that the brush fire off Hina Lani Street in Kailua-Kona is still burning. They have closed Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway northbound between Hina Lani Street and Ka’iminani in the Palisades area. Police said they will, however, escort business owners who need to get to the Natural Energy Lab through the area, which has thick smoke. The southbound lane is open, but traffic is extremely congested in the area. Motorists wishing to travel northbound to Kona Airport should use Palani Road to Ka’iminani and down Ka’iminani to Queen Ka’ahumanu and then north to the airport. Motorists could also take the new Ane Keohokalole Highway from the intersection of Palani and Henry, to Hina Lani, to get to either the Costco Industrial Area or then go mauka on Hina Lani up to Palani (Highway 190).
Hina Lani Street, which was closed Wednesday evening, is now open, but police said as conditions change they will close or reopen roads.
As of 9 p.m. Wednesday, Deputy Fire Chief Aaron Arbles said the fire had burned 90 acres and they were working to establish a mauka fire break with bulldozers and using the Hawaii County helicopters to perform water drops to supplement the on-ground crews. He did not know the cause of the fire. Although when the fire first started around 4 p.m. the smoke caused evacuation of the Kaloko Transitional Housing and the Red Cross opened a shelter at West Hawaii Civic Center, the Fire Department cancelled the evacuation and the Red Cross closed the Center at 8 p.m.