HVNP: Wildfire 100% Contained
The power line wildfire on the southeast flank of Mauna Loa in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park is 100% contained and is holding at 42.5 acres in size, HVNP stated in a news release Tuesday, July 19.
Mauna Loa Road remains closed to all public use, and only authorized vehicles are allowed past the gate at Kīpukapuaulu until further notice. Firefighters are working to reduce nearly two miles of hose lay around the fire, and the presence of fire personnel, heavy equipment and vehicles on the road requires its continued temporary closure. Utility crews are conducting inspections and performing tree trimming in the fire area.
Crews are also working to mop up smoldering patches in the interior of the fire. Hotter, windier weather caused flare ups in grass near the center of the fire. Firefighters did not get much help from Tropical Storm Darby over the weekend, with less than half an inch of rain on the fire Saturday, and no precipitation since, but are working hard towards full suppression.
Falling snags from 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 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-ft. elevation in the park. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
No homes or other structures were damaged. The burn has impacted habitat for native birds, and a 1,760-foot section of ungulate-proof fence that protects native forest was damaged. Park staff are evaluating needs and planning for rehabilitation.
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 (DOFAW); 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. Help protect the ʻāīna and learn how to be fire safe by visiting https://www.hawaiiwildfire.org/lookout/.