Watch: Commanders Estimate Brush Fire Now at 25,000 Acres

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Dozens of federal, state, and county firefighters are back on the lines this morning at the large Leilani wildfire.

The Hawai‘i Fire Department reported the brush fire that started Wednesday in Pōhakuloa Training Area has not advanced toward any public roadways or residential areas, Hawai‘i Civil Defense stated Friday, Aug. 12.

Currently, no structures are threatened and all roads are open.


Motorist on Highway 190 and Daniel K Inouye Highway, are advised to drive with caution, as fire personnel and heavy equipment continue to work in the area establishing fire breaks and conducting fire suppression.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources office estimated the fire has grown to 25,000 acres.

Wildland fire teams from the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) headed into the field a little after 8 a.m. today after receiving a briefing, which included the day’s objectives and assignments, the state department reported.


On the ground, they’re being supported by the “big guns” of firefighting. Seven bulldozers are working to build fire lines around the blaze, and five military helicopters from the U.S. Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) are dropping thousands of gallons of water on the hottest part of the fire.

Active fire has largely moved onto PTA land, after burning across the Pu‘u Anahula Game Management Area, in a region bounded by Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road), State Highway 190, and an 1859 lava flow. Fire managers hope that flow will act as a natural fire line should it reach that point.

The fire is being managed under a unified command between DOFAW, PTA, and the Hawai‘i Fire Department.


“Relative humidity is in the 25% range, and while winds currently are lower than the last two days, gusts of upwards of 20-25 miles an hour are forecast for later in the day,” Hawai‘i Island Branch Chief Steve Bergfeld said during a morning briefing, according to a DLNR press release.

Bergfeld is currently doing an aerial assessment of the fire, but incident commanders are estimating it has burned 25,000 acres since sparking on Wednesday. They estimate that they have containment around 30% of the fire; meaning that’s how much fire line is built around it, the state DLNR stated Friday.

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