S. Kohala cattle ranchers and farmers sue Parker Ranch over Mana Road Fire

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Fourteen cattle ranchers and farmers from South Kohala are suing Parker Ranch over last year’s historically large brush fire that destroyed their pasture lands.

The lawsuit was filed in 3rd Circuit Court on Thursday. The July 2021 brush fire is estimated to be the largest brush fire in state history as it scorched over 40,000 acres, burning Parker Ranch pastures and Hawaiian Homestead lands leased by the plaintiffs.

Read the lawsuit below.

“As a result of the fire and its escape onto Plaintiffs’ land, Plaintiffs’ land remains hostile, infertile, and substantially unusable for its intended agricultural and residential purposes,” the lawsuit stated.


One of the plaintiffs, Joshua Kihe, told Hawaii News Now everything is dead still and there is a lot of dust.

“I lost everything I owned. I lost the house. I lost my cars, family heirlooms, everything,” Kihe stated.

According to the Hawaii Fire Department, the wildfire was caused by a contractor who was making a fence line for Parker Ranch. While sawing a metal post, fire officials said, the contractor created sparks that first burned a 20-by-20 foot parcel and then quickly spread in the dry and windy conditions.

Two homes were confirmed destroyed. Fire Chief Kazuo Todd said he saw pictures of at least four scorched vehicles.


Although the fire was initially limited to Parker Ranch’s own lands, the suit claims Parker Ranch and the contractor failed to take reasonable steps to contain the fire, despite opportunities to do so.

“From having been displaced from their homes, to being forced to relocate or sell their livestock, to losing fertile soil, to suffering various adverse health effects, Plaintiffs’ lives and livelihoods have been substantially damaged and altered to their detriment as a result of the fire,” the lawsuit stated.

While it’s been over a year since the fire happened, the lawsuit notes the heat, strength, and burn duration of the fire were so severe and penetrating that the fire not only destroyed vegetation and corroded the top layer of soil on Plaintiffs’ land, but it eroded the actual underlying structure of the soil and burned through root systems.

The land is now largely uninhabitable for livestock and unworkable for the intended purposes of ranching and/or growing crops and other vegetation, according to the lawsuit.


Big Island Now reached out to Parker Ranch for comment and are waiting for a response.

The plaintiffs seek a trial. This story will be updated as it develops.

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