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Wildfire Within HVNP Now 95% Contained

July 15, 2022, 12:52 PM HST
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Courtesy of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

The Power Line wildfire within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is 95% contained as of Thursday, July 15, and remains at 42.5 acres in size.

Burning on the southeast flank of Mauna Loa, park officials say isolated smoldering continues in leaf litter, logs, and snags within the interior of the fire. Firefighters continue to work the fire today with hoses, hand tools, and chainsaws to extinguish all residual smoldering they can safely reach. Falling snags from dead trees burned in the 2018 Keauhou fire continue to be a hazard for firefighters, making it difficult to safely access and mop up the interior of the fire. Other hazards to firefighters include loose, uneven lava rock terrain.

The forecast indicates a 20% chance of rain over the fire Friday night. There is a chance for significant rainfall Saturday as Tropical Storm Darby approaches south of Hawaiʻi Island, according to the National Weather Service.

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.

The Power Line fire was first reported at 6:09 p.m. on Monday, July 11, and started near a power line road at around 4,800-foot elevation in the park. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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No homes or other structures have been damaged. The burn has impacted habitat for native birds, and a 1,760-foot section of ungulate-proof fence that protects the native forest from non-native hooved animals was damaged.

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Cooperating agencies that assisted the National Park Service through the initial attack include the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife; County of Hawaiʻi Fire Department, and the U.S. Army’s Pōhakuloa Training Area (PTA).

Most of Hawaiʻi is experiencing dry conditions, ranging from abnormally dry to extreme drought. Most wildfires in Hawaiʻi are started by people.  Click here to learn how to be fire safe.

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