US Army: PTA Area ‘Fire is Very Significant’
The U.S. Army reported on Thursday, Aug. 11 that first responders on the ground and in the air immediately have been fighting the wildland fire that broke out in the western portion of Pōhakuloa Training Area on Wednesday, and continuing through the night, with assets from the U.S. Army, Hawai‘i County, State DOFAW, the National Park Service, and local volunteer firefighters.
Ground units are focusing on firebreaks ahead of the fire to prevent it from advancing, and aircrews are dropping large buckets of water to douse advancing flames. It has advanced at a high rate of speed given winds in excess of 30 mph and the extremely dry conditions, the Army stated.
The following assets are currently committed to fighting the fire:
• 6 large earth-moving dozers creating fire breaks (approximately)
• 3 Army helicopters conducting water bucket drops
• 2 Hawaii County helicopters conducting water bucket drops
• More than 30 personnel (approximately)
• 10 brush trucks, engines, and tankers (approximately)
“This fire is very significant and it is taking this entire team of first responders to collectively contain its advances,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Cronin, commander, U.S. Army Garrison Pohakuloa Training Area.
The fire has so far burned in excess of 10,000 acres of land on PTA and State lands to the west of PTA. Containment efforts remain ongoing and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
“Working with the team of first responders here, our number one priority is the safety and well-being of the local community,” Cronin said. “The weather conditions are making this fight difficult to slow the advance of the fire, and our combined efforts are working to prevent it from reaching or crossing Highway 190.”
The highway remains open, the county reported earlier on Thursday.