(BIVN) – A 400-acre brush fire forced the closure of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway on Friday afternoon.
In a 2:30 p.m. alert, the Hawaiʻi Police Department reported the fire burning near the highway at the 48.5 Mile Marker.
“Until further notice, HPD has closed Daniel K. Inouye Highway from the Old Saddle Road junction near the 42 Mile Marker to the Highway 190 junction,” the police message stated. “Due to the road closure, please use Old Saddle Road as a detour. Motorists, please drive with caution as crews are on scene. Please be advised that other road closures could occur with little to no notice.”
The Pohakuloa Training Area provided this additional information as short time later:
At approximately 2 p.m., the U.S. Army Garrison Pohakuloa Fire Department responded to a brushfire call along the south side of Highway 200 (Daniel K. Inouye Highway) near Mile Marker 48. Hawaii Fire Department (HFD), with other county assistance, responded as well. All are now working together battling the fire, which is difficult to contain given the strong winds blowing at 25-30 mph. The U.S. Army has dispatched one UH-60 Blackhawk MEDEVAC aircraft from Bradshaw Army Airfield for aerial reconnaissance to compliment the two HFD helicopters already conducting water-bucket dropping efforts on the fire. Currently approximately 400 acres have burned. The PTA Commander has also requested three additional aircraft from Oahu to assist containing the fire, and they are expected to be on island tomorrow early morning. Additionally, the county and U.S. Army are moving dozers into place to create fire breaks to disrupt and ultimately stop the fire’s progress.
UPDATE – (8:15 p.m.) – The Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense provided an update on Friday evening, reporting that the brush fire near the 48.5 Mile Marker of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway was 50% contained. The County had a lower size estimate, reporting that the blaze had consumed 210 acres.
“As crews and equipment continue to work the brush fire, Daniel K. Inouye Highway will remain closed though tonight from the Old Saddle Road junction near the 42 Mile Marker to the Highway 190 junction. Fire personnel will reassess road closure conditions in the morning,” the civil defense message said. “Please continue to use Old Saddle Road as a detour.”