Firefighters to resume battling brush fire in Pāhala on Monday morning
November 21, 2022, 7:09 AM HST
* Updated November 21, 12:48 PM
On Sunday evening, Capt. Chris Carvalho with the Hawaiʻi Fire Department, said a brush fire that started at midday in the rural town of Pāhala on the island’s east side was not contained and would be monitored overnight to ensure it did not spread into residential areas.
Officials said Sunday evening that approximately 66 acres had burned so far. As of this morning, officials confirmed the blaze has grown to 100 acres.
“It was a normal Sunday until we got the call,” Capt. Carvalho said Sunday night.
He was at Station 11 in Pāhala discussing overnight plans to watch the fire overnight. He said firefighting operations would resume at daylight on Monday.
In the morning, conditions are not good to fight a fire. The Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense issued a Red Flag warning, with northeast winds expected of 20 to 30 mph, with higher gusts and low humidity.
Volunteer firefighter Liz Polido heard about the fire Sunday through the radio system. There was a call for volunteer firefighters in the area to join in the effort.
“It was intense because of the strong winds. It was fast-moving,” Polido said while cleaning off the firetruck.
Capt. Carvalho said about 30 volunteers arrived to help battle the brush fire. It had begun around Maile Street, causing the road closures of Maile Street and Moaula Road in the area.
It also caused the evacuation of two homes. But no structures were burned as of Sunday night, Capt. Carvalho said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation and is not known at this time.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with more accurate information about the acreage that has burned. The Hawai’i Fire Department said its Monday morning estimate was wrong and provided another estimate Monday at noon after mapping the affected area.