UPDATE – (Friday at 8:30 a.m.) – The Hawaiʻi Fire Department reports the brush fire that started in Pohakuloa Training Area has not advanced toward any public roadways or residential areas. “Currently, no structures are threatened and all roads are open,” a Civil Defense message stated.
(BIVN) – The fight to contain a large brushfire on the leeward side of Hawaiʻi island continues.
The 10,000-acre brush fire, located mauka of Highway 190, is estimated to have grown by several thousand acres, officials said on Thursday evening. On Friday morning, they expect to better assess the size and containment.
As of Thursday evening, a fire line located 2 miles from Highway 190, cut by numerous bulldozers, was largely complete.
Mauka areas continued to burn overnight and were expected to be the focus of the firefighting effort today, the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources said.
“They’ve made a lot of progress on the Highway 190 side. We feel pretty good about the fire breaks they’ve been put,” said Steve Bergfeld, the Hawaiʻi Island Branch Manager of the DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife, in a video interview provided by the Hawaiʻi DLNR “We’re hopeful that as long as conditions stay the same, and we don’t get high winds, that all these lines are going to hold. And also the 1859 (lava) flow is going to hold, so most of the active burning will be up on the mauka side of the fire.”
“On Hawaiʻi island, the most important tool that we have, normally, is bulldozers,” Bergfeld said. “We rely heavily on contract bulldozers to come in and put in line for us, so they’re really valuable. We really appreciate the companies that step forward and come out and help us do this type of work. They’re on the front lines doing the dangerous work.”
“Secondly, we have the helicopters, which come in and give us eyes on the sky so that we can tell what’s happening on the ground,” Bergfeld continued. “Then, of course, the hard work happens on the ground with the ground crews coming in behind and working behind the dozers and burning out all the the fuel between the fire and the line.”
There are no Fire Weather advisories posted for Hawaiʻi island as of Friday morning.
by Big Island Video News
HAWAIʻI ISLAND - Officials say efforts to fight the over 10,000-acre brush fire continues into Friday.