East Hawaii News

Firefighters to resume battling brush fire in Pāhala on Monday morning

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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.

Pāhala brush fire burning Sunday afternoon. (Photo credit: Hawai’i Fire Department)

“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. 

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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. 

  • Firefighters at Station 11 in Pāhala. Photo Credit: Megan Moseley
  • About 30 volunteer firefighters helped fight the brush fire in Pāhala. Photo Credit: Megan Moseley
  • Hawaiʻi Fire Department Capt. Chris Carvalho at Station 11 in Pāhala. Photo Credit: Megan Moseley
  • A firefighter gets the fire engine at Station 11 in Pāhala ready to resume operations in the morning to battle a brushfire. Photo Credit: Megan Moseley
  • Fire crews battled a brush fire in Pāhala that burned at least 66 acres by Sunday evening and was being monitored through the night until fire fighting operations could resume on Monday morning. Photo Credit: Megan Moseley

“It was intense because of the strong winds. It was fast-moving,” Polido said while cleaning off the firetruck. 

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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.

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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.

Megan Moseley
Megan Moseley is a multi-platform journalist based in Hawaiʻi. Her experience ranges from long and short-form reporting to print, digital, radio and television news coverage. In Hawaiʻi, she's worked for local media outlets and has covered a wide range of topics including local and state politics, environmental affairs, Native Hawaiian issues, travel, tourism and education. She covers the West for Restaurant Hospitality.

She's a 2010 graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Magazine Journalism and specializations in Geology and History. She's currently working on her master's degree from New York University in journalism and is focused on conflict resolution and peace practices in indigenous cultures in the Pacific.

Find her @meganmoseleyjournalist or at www.meganmoseley.com.
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