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Fire in Kailua-Kona shuts down roadway, smoke seen for miles

Photography by Matthew Lovein | Special to Hawaii 24/7

Photos submitted by our wonderful readers in the Kona.

By Hawaii 24/7 Staff

A brushfire near The Pines subdivision in Kailua-Kona Tuesday afternoon (Feb 7) could be seen for miles, as far South as Kealakekua from one report.

As of 3:15 p.m. officials had set-up roadblocks on Queen Kaahumanu Highway at Henry Street and Lako Street while Hualalai Road is roadblocked between Nani Kailua Drive and Queen Kaahumanu Highway as crews fight the blaze. The County fire helicopter is making water drops on the fire.

Residents of The Pines subdivision have been evacuated.

The Red Cross has opened a shelter as of 4 p.m. at Kekuaokalani Gym at Old Kona Airport (75-5500 Kuakini Hwy) for residents who had to evacuate their homes due to the fire.

UPDATED ( 5:45 p.m. 2/7/12)

Police report that Kuakini Highway is now open to traffic. Queen Kaahumanu extension, South of Palani Road to Lako Street is still closed.

Hawaii County Civil Defense brushfire update

Hawaii County Civl Defense Update
This is a brushfire update for Thursday February 7, 2012 at 5:55 Firefighting operations are still underway in the Kona Area. Due to the brushfire, motorists are asked to avoid Kuakini Highway between Palani Road and Honalo. Southbound motorists on Mamalahoa Highway are requested to use Palani Road to Alii Drive. Northbound motorists on Kuakini Highway are requested to use Highway should use Highway 180 to Palani Junction. Also, Hokulia Bypass will remain open until 9 p.m.

UPDATED (11:55 p.m. 2/7/12)

Firefighers answered a 2:17 p.m. alarm Tuesday (Feb 7) for a brushfire on the South side of Hualalai Road fueled by thick brush made up of tall California grass and Kiawe trees.

Strong winds blowing from the South pushed the fire to jump Hualalai Road spreading Northward. After a wind shift the fire headed towards the Queen Kaahumanu highway and jumped over to the mauka side of Nani Kailua Drive.

Over a dozen firefighting vehicles, two helicopters and 39 personnel which included volunteer and military firefighters fought the blaze.

By 3:50 p.m. firefighters had the fire contained. According to a fire dispatch report no buildings were damaged in the blaze and there were no injuries reported. The fire burned 20 acres of land and closed down Hualalai Road and Queen Kaahumanu Highway during the fire.

Firefighters are staying on the scene overnight to watch for flare-ups and hotspots in the burn area. Although roads are open motorists are advise to use caution due to fire personnel still on the scene.

Residents were evacuated from The Pines subdivision, the Regency Hualalai Retirement home and the University of the Nations. The Red Cross turned Kekuaokalani Gym into a shelter for evacuees.

The cause of the fire is undertermined and under investigation.

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Video above by Victoria Kaopua | Special to Hawaii 24/7

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Video by Matt Fields | Special to Hawaii 24/7

In addition to taking photos, Brian Powers was called in to help a friend out. (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7 by Brian Powers)

Brian Powesr, of Hawaiian Images Photography & Video, shared the following blog post with Hawaii 24/7:

Glancing at the clock, I saw that it was just about nap-thirty so I headed out of my office onto the lanai and as always glanced out to see what the sea looked like only to find a dark brown-black cloud of smoke rising from somewhere down hill from my home. Instinct kicked in and so I grabbed my cell phone and my camera and headed down the hill.

As I was driving straight toward the sea I dailed 911 and told them of the fire. I arrived at the Pines in the subdivision below my neighborhood.

It was farther down hill than I thought but there was a major fire underway and no fire trucks to be seen or heard.

As I walked about looking for photos I heard my Hash name called out: “Flying Toe Jamb! Gimme a hand will ya?” It was one of my fellow Hashers trying to get a yard hose up and running in his neighbors yard. The fire was approaching rapidly and he started spraying it down.

Suddenly he turned to me and asked if I would go check on his dog next door, then more suddenly he stopped and said “No! Don’t do that, he doesn’t like strangers and would probably take your hand off!”

He then handed me the hose, patted my shoulder in his retreat and left me there with a camera in one hand, a hose in the other, a fire a couple yards in front of me and a man-eating dog coming up behind me!

Upon his return and still in possession of all my limbs I continued to wander about looking for interesting photos when I came across several homeowners wetting down their roofs in hopes of keeping the wind-blown embers from setting their homes alight.

I spotted another Hash brother who was is fireman in his mortal life and grabbed a few shots of him earning his pay.

‘Pole Slider’ is his Hash name. Get it? Fireman sliding down a pole? Funny, neither did he when he got named. Never been in a two story firehouse it would seem.

The fire jumped the road and was making its way up toward my house, so I called it a day and went home to tell the dogs all was well.

Needless to say my home was not destroyed and as far as I know no other homes were damaged either. It was an exciting way to spend an afternoon, but I can’t help but feel cheated out of my nap because of a stupid fire.


— Find more of Brian Power’s work at:

(Photo special to Hawaii 24/7 by Brian Powers)

One Response to “Fire in Kailua-Kona shuts down roadway, smoke seen for miles”

  1. Chris says:

    Be safe! I’m just south at Seaview Circle…


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