East Hawaii News

Wildfire at HVNP 70% Contained; Cause Under Investigation

July 13, 2022, 10:41 AM HST
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This photo of the wildfire within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park was captured Monday, July 11. (National Park Service photo/C.Ritzman)

Efforts continue to extinguish a wildfire that broke out earlier this week within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and its cause is under investigation.

Park officials reported that the fire on the southeast flank of Mauna Loa was 70% contained as of Wednesday morning, July 13. The blaze had burned 42.5 acres. Mauna Loa Road remains closed to the public from the gate at the Kīpukapuaulu parking lot. Only authorized vehicles are allowed past the gate until further notice.

Light rain overnight and into early Wednesday morning is helping firefighters extinguish residual smoldering. The current weather outlook is favorable for firefighters to continue to make progress strengthening fire lines, mopping up and extinguishing residual heat.

As a result, containment is expected to rise significantly today and tomorrow.

Isolated smoldering continues in leaf litter, logs and snags from the 2018 Keauhou fire. Hazards include snags from previously burned koa and ʻōhiʻa trees and extremely rough uneven lava rock terrain.

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No homes or other structures are threatened, but the fire did impact habitat for native birds. A 1,760-foot section of ungulate-proof fence that protects native forest from non-native hooved animals also was damaged.

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The wildfire was first reported at 6:09 p.m. Monday, July 11, and started on a power line road at about 4,800 feet in elevation inside the park.

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park extends its deepest appreciation to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Hawaiʻi Fire Department and personnel from Pōhakuloa Training Area for responding to the blaze.

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