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Brushfire in Ka‘u closes Highway 11, traffic detoured through Punaluu Beach Park

Firefighters responded to the brushfire in Punaluu at 11:42 a.m. Monday (May 4). Crews found over 20 acres burning on the makai side of the Mamalahoa Highway (Hwy 11) in multiple spots. Strong trade winds fanned the flames with the smoke forcing the closure of the highway.

Crews used two bulldozers to create fire breaks while two helicopters performed water drops and ground crews protected homes along Alahaki Road and prevented the fire from spreading. The fire was contained within Ninole Loop on the Southeast side of Mamalahoa Highway and below Hilea Road on the northwest side of Mamalahoa Highway.

By evening the fire had burned about 200 acres of vacant land, pasture land, grass, brush and trees. Fire department and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park crews remained on the scene overnight to monitors for flare-ups in the fire area and to check the perimeter of the burn area.

UPDATED (9:42 p.m. on 5/4/2015)

Mamalahoa Highway (Hwy 11) between the 56 & 57 mile markers in Punaluu is now open to all traffic. Use caution as fire personnel are still in the area to monitor against possible flare-ups of the brushfire.


The Hawaii Fire Department reports a runaway brush fire in the area of the 56 mile mark of the Mamalahoa Highway (Hwy 11) in Pahala near the intersections of Highway 11 and Ninole Loop. No homes or property is threatened at this time, however, Mamalahoa Highway is closed to all traffic at this time. Emergency crews are on scene and working to contain and control the fire and motorists are advised to avoid the area and to use alternate routes if possible.

Traffic is being detoured through Ninoole Loop near Punaluu Beach Park.

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