Thursday, November 26, 2015         

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Power outage, water shortages caused by 1,000 acre Kauai fire

Fire chief calls for voluntary evacuation of Kokee

By Star-Advertiser staff


Power was cut off to Kokee Saturday to protect firefighters battling a brush fire that has burned more than 1,000 acres above Kekaha on Kauai. 

A Kauai County spokeswoman said the fire was approaching a high voltage power line in the area. The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative shut down power to the line, which supplies Kokee, until further notice.

Power has also been cut to pumps at a nearby water storage tank. The Department of Water is requesting residents and businesses in the Kekaha and Waimea area restrict water consumption to essential uses only - such as cooking, bathing, and toilet flushing - until power can be restored.

The fire, which broke out shortly after midnight Thursday near Pokii Ridge in Kokee is not an immediate threat to structures.

Still, Fire Chief Robert Westerman is asking for a voluntary evacuation of Kokee.

“Because we feel access out of Kokee via Kokee Road and Waimea Canyon Drive may be compromised as we continue to fight the fire, we’re recommending that anyone currently in Kokee evacuate now,” he said.

The fire flared up again Friday and firefighters estimate it has now burned more than 1,000 acres, spreading to Paua and Waiaka ridges.

Kokee Road, from the Kokee/Kekaha Road junction remains closed today. Access to Waimea Canyon Drive is now restricted to residents only. The public is urged to avoid the area.

The Kauai Fire Department, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Pacific Missile Range Facility are battling the blaze, assisted by helicopters, bulldozers and private contractors.

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