Strong winds proved troublesome for state Department of Land and Natural Resources firefighters battling a 400-acre wildfire on the Hikimoe Ridge in the Puu Ka Pele Forest Reserve on Kauai.
The 20 to 25 mph winds buffeted the area causing several “spot fires,” a mile west of the main flank and on the north side of the main fire line, a DLNR spokeswoman said. Spot fires exemplify extreme fire behavior and occur when hot embers are tossed across the fire line by strong winds. Embers can land and start new fires fairly far away depending on weather conditions.
There is no current threat to the Waimea Canyon State Park or to any structures. However, the roads to Hunting Unit A will be closed to the public until further notice. Public access remains open to Puu Lua Reservoir for rainbow trout fishing. The gate at Puu Lua may be closed if extreme fire conditions require closure to protect the public.
On Tuesday, 22 DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife Kauai personnel responded, assisted by five Kauai Fire Department firefighters, and two Kauai County Public Works personnel with a water tender. KFD had a brush engine.
Another 22 a DOFAW firefighters from Oahu and Maui will join the fire line today.
Two contract hire helicopters plus the county Fire Department’s helicopter are providing water drops. DOFAW is also planning to hire two additional helicopters.
Efforts are expected to resume at daybreak.
The fire is burning in a eucalyptus tree plantation planted in the 1970s. Some of the trees are 85 to 120 feet tall.