East Hawaii News

Wildfire Burns 60 Acres in Gulch Near Pahala

July 16, 2012, 1:26 PM HST
* Updated July 16, 1:28 PM
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Hawai`i County firefighters are continuing to monitor a brush fire that blackened 60 acres on Lower Moaula Road near Pahala.

The brushfire located in a deep ravine between macadamia nut orchards was first reported at about 10:30 a.m. Friday. About two-dozen personnel fought the fire aided by two tanker trucks and water drops from the county’s Chopper 1.

Because of the difficulty in accessing the ravine, efforts were focused on keeping the blaze from crossing Highway 11, fire officials said.

Throughout the weekend, crews kept monitoring the fire’s perimeter and extinguishing hot spots along its edge as well as small spot fires that broke out in the orchards.

Acting Capt. Mike Murray of the Pahala fire station said today that those monitoring efforts are continuing with the assistance of personnel from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and the fire has not spread.

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“It’s contained pretty much in a gulch between the mac nut orchards,” he said. The area of the fire is approximately a half-mile southeast of Pahala, Murray said.

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The Pahala area was the scene of a massive wildfire that burned more than 5,000 acres below Highway 11 before it was extinguished two weeks ago.

Because of its size and inaccessibility, it took firefighters nearly two weeks to get that blaze under control.

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