(BIVN) – Mandatory evacuations and road closures are still in effect – and state officials have issued an emergency proclamation – as two additional fires have broken out in the Kohala area.
Hawaiʻi County officials are reporting new flare-ups – located near the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and Hāpuna Beach areas – in addition to the ongoing brush fire that is threatening five neighborhoods in the Kohala Ranch area along Akoni Pule Highway.
As a result of the new fires, Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway has been closed between the 69-mile marker and the Kawaihae Road Junction.
There are a total of four active fires in North Hawaiʻi, with three considered active threats. The fourth blaze, reported in Waimea near Lalamilo subdivision, “has burned approximately 20 acres and continues to burn within containment lines,” officials say.
The brush fire near Kohala Ranch is estimated to have burned approximately 1,800 acres and is not contained.
As 3 p.m. HST, Hawaiʻi County maintained a mandatory evacuation for the following residential areas:
- Kohala Ranch
- Kohala By the Sea
- Kohala Waterfront
- Kohala Estates
Shelters remain open at Hisaoka Park in Kapaʻau and Waimea Community Center in Waimea. “Additional shelters may be opened based on need. Shelters are pet friendly, though owners are expected to bring supplies for their animals,” the County says.
A Red Flag Warning and High Wind Warning remain in effect for the Kohala area, as well as other leeward areas on Hawaiʻi island. Wildfires have also been reported on Maui.
The dry, windy conditions are being driven by a strong pressure gradient between Hurricane Dora, passing well to the south of Hawaiʻi, and a surface ridge to the north.
“We are closely following the wildfires caused by the strong winds of Hurricane Dora,” said Hawaiʻi Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke, who is serving as Acting Governor while Governor Josh Green is out-of-state. “The safety of our residents is paramount, and this emergency proclamation will activate the Hawaiʻi National Guard to support emergency responders in the impacted communities.”
“Lieutenant Governor Luke has my full support,” said Governor Green, who has been fully briefed on the situation. “My thoughts are with the residents and businesses affected by Hurricane Dora,” he said.
State officials say the emergency proclamation “authorizes several actions, including activation of the National Guard, authorizes appropriate actions by the director of the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency and the Administrator of Emergency Management, as well as the expenditure of state general revenue funds for relief of conditions created by Hurricane Dora.”