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Kauai crews battle wildfire on Hikimoe Ridge for third day

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 3:04 a.m. HST, Jun 29, 2012

Firefighters continue to battle a wildfire Thursday on the Hikimoe Ridge on Kauai.

For a third day, fire crews are trying to prevent the blaze from spreading toward the Pu‘u Ka Pele Forest Reserve contour road, which serves as a fire break road. Cabins are located in the Pu‘u Ka Pele section of Waimea Canyon State Park.

The fire front was last reported to be less than a quarter-mile away from the nearest structures, according to a news release.

Dry brush, low humidity and strong, gusty winds are challenging factors for crews battling the active fire. The Department of Land and Natural Resources said the 410-acre fire is burning in a eucalyptus tree plantation planted in the 1970s. Some trees are 85 to 120 feet tall.

Police and the Kauai County Civil Defense notified park users Wednesday to consider evacuating. Kauai County Defense Administrator Mark Marshall said there is no sense of urgency, as the fire is located in inaccessible areas.

Civil Air Patrol is conducting flyovers to monitor the fire.

The Division of Forestry and Wildlife also closed two hunting areas in the forest reserve, the Pu‘u Lua Reservoir and trout fishing for safety reasons.

More than 50 personnel from the forestry division, Kauai fire department and public works are working together to fight the wildfire. Water tankers, a bulldozer are some of the equipment being used. Air One and three contracted helicopters are assisting with water drops.

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