45-acre fire continues to burn on the slopes of Mauna Kea
  • Thursday, May 23, 2019
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45-acre fire continues to burn on the slopes of Mauna Kea

  • PHOTOS COURTESY OF POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA / FACEBOOK

    Firefighters from the Pohakuloa Training Area and Hawaii County are responding to a brush fire between mile marker 30 and 31 on Saddle Road.

State, county and federal agencies have been working together to battle a 45-acre fire on the slopes of Mauna Kea, which was initially reported this morning.

Firefighters are monitoring the fire overnight, but state bulldozers are continuing to cut fire breaks through the night.

Helicopters will resume water drops at first light.

Mike Donnelly, spokesman for the Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area’s Fire and Emergency Services, said Pohakulua, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are land managers of the area and are coordinating efforts to battle the blaze.

The fire is located four miles northeast of the Pohakuloa base camp near mile marker 31 and 1.87 miles off Saddle Road, he said.

Donnelly said the blaze was first reported between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., and PTA’s firefighters were the first to respond.

Shifting winds and steep terrain made the fire difficult to fight, he said.

An Army Black Hawk helicopter and a Hawaii County Fire Department helicopter made water drops until sunset.

Donnelly said fire is always a concern since it is a dryland forest area, but there has been “a good amount of rain” recently and the area received light precipitation today.

Marines were training in Pohakuloa, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles were also being used, but no one trains in the area where the fire was located, Donnelly said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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