4 PM UPDATE: Fire Inside HVNP is Not ContainedAugust 7, 2018, 12:07 PM HST (Updated August 7, 2018, 4:08 PM)
4 p.m. Update: Fire Inside HVNP is Not Contained
The National Park Service reports that the Mauna Loa brush fire, which is burning mostly inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, is not contained at this time. So far, approximately 1,500 acres have been burned. No structures are threatened at this time.
Video taken on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, by photographer Ken Boyer:
Mauna Loa Road inside Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has been closed to the public since May 11.
Please drive carefully on Highway 11 as smoke may impact driving conditions.
Original Post: Keauhou Ranch Fire Grows
The uncontained brushfire that originated in Keauhou Ranch on Sunday has been intensified by dry, windy conditions and grew to 1,495 acres overnight.
The Keauhou Ranch Fire is mostly within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, and had consumed 1,250 acres of native forest on both sides of Mauna Loa Road by Tuesday morning. The blaze is less than a half-mile from the Kīpuka Ki Special Ecological Area—home to threatened and endangered native plant, animal and bird species—but is not threatening the Volcano community at this time.
“Our priority now is the safety of our firefighters and the public,” said NPS Fire Management Officer Matt Desimone. “The severity of the fuel conditions, the fire behavior and extremely limited personnel and resources make this a complex fire situation. We will continue to focus on collaborating with other government and private agencies,” he said. “Kīpuka Kī is our priority resource risk.”
Due to the high winds and very dry conditions on Mauna Loa, National Park Service, State Division of Forestry & Wildlife (DOFAW) and County of Hawaiʻi firefighters have had limited success suppressing the blaze with a direct attack of spraying water and making fire breaks. Fire crews will utilize an indirect attack Tuesday, using natural lava barriers as a fire break. Three fire engines, two helicopters for aerial water drops, and a bulldozer are assigned to the incident.
Two additional fire crews (30 personnel) have been ordered from the mainland. The current fire crew includes 20 NPS firefighters and firefighters from other agencies, including County of Hawaiʻi, DOFAW and volunteer firefighters from Volcano.
The fire is moving west towards Kapāpala Ranch, and is not contained at this time. It is located at the 4,500- to 4,800-foot elevation, and no homes or structures are currently threatened.
Video taken on Monday afternoon, Aug. 6, 2018, by photographer Ken Boyer:
Mauna Loa Road—along with most of the national park—has been closed to the public since May 11 due to hazardous seismic activity. Rain is not expected until Tuesday night, when moisture from Hurricane Hector is expected to impact Hawaiʻi Island.