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Kawaihae brushfires continue to burn, all roadways now open

Crews worked for a second day on a runaway brushfire in the Kawaihae area of Hawaii Island. Roadways were opened as firefighter controlled the areas near roadways. Helicopters used bambi buckets to ferry ocean water up to the fire front on the slopes of the Kohala Mountains below Kohala Mountain Road. Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

W.M. Keck Observatory captured the fire from its Cosmic Cam. Timelapse video:

(Video courtesy of W.M. Keck Observatory)

UPDATED (5:32 PM on 8/9/2015)

Firefighters from the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) joined Hawaii County firefighters in battling the Kawaihae runaway brushfire. DOFAW had 22 personnel working on the blaze. DOFAW crews used four engines, three water tankers and a brush truck. DOFAW crews are conducting flanking operations above Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor and the adjacent industrial area.

4 p.m. Hawaii County Civil Defense audio message

Hawaii Fire Department reports fires in Kawaihae area continue to burn out of control however conditions in the immediate area have improved and allow for the opening of all roadways.

All roadways have been opened and residents in the Kawaihae Village area may return home. The evacuation center at the Waimea Community Center will be closed as of 4:30 p.m. this afternoon.

The harvested eucalyptus  log storage facility at Kawaihae ablaze Saturday night (Aug 8). Photo Special to Hawaii 24/7 by Jessica Ferracane

The harvested eucalyptus log storage facility at Kawaihae ablaze Saturday night (Aug 8). Photo Special to Hawaii 24/7 by Jessica Ferracane

UPDATED (10:35 a.m. on 8/9/2015)

The Hawaii Fire Department reports that the brush fires in the Kawaihae area continue to burn out of control. Due to gusty wind conditions and heavy smoke the following area evacuations remain as a precaution:

  • Spencer Beach Park
  • Kawaihae Village area

The Evacuation Center at the Thelma Parker Gym has been moved to the Waimea Community Center and will remain open until further notice.

In addition, the following road closure and openings are in effect:

  • CLOSED: Kawaihae Road is closed from the intersection of Queen Kaahumanu Highway to the Akoni Pule Highway Junction at the Kawaihae Harbor. Kohala traffic on Akoni Pule is being detoured through the Kohala Ranch Subdivision.
  • OPEN: Queen Kaahumanu Highway is open to all traffic.
  • OPEN: Kawaihae Road from the Queen Kaahumanu Highway intersection up through Waimea.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area and to use alternate routes if possible.

Hawaii County Civil Defense Message

There has been some concern from the community regarding the Kawaihae harbor operations as it relates to supporting businesses and the availability of goods. The collective incident management team is sensitive to and appreciates the need to support operations of Kawaihae harbor and the supply chain for goods and commodities.

The safe operations and access to the harbor for this week are being given high consideration with regards to the strategies and tactics for the fire control and extinguishment. The safety and welfare of the community is priority and any shipping delays or adverse effects will be addressed in close collaboration with shippers, truckers and first responders.

If limited access to the harbor is possible to support transportation of freight and goods, cooperation of the general public in avoiding the area would be greatly appreciated.

One Response to “Kawaihae brushfires continue to burn, all roadways now open”

  1. Sandy says:

    Please, please, let Kohala mountain have enough moisture to resist any sparks.


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