North and South Kohala brush fires under control but flare-ups still a threat

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Brush fires in North and South Kohala that ignited on Tuesday are under control. No injuries among residents or fire personnel have been reported as of Wednesday morning.

Hawai‘i Island firefighters will be patrolling and putting out hot spots at the Akoni Pule Fire in South Kohala Ranch, which burned approximately 1,000 acres and the Mauna Kea Beach fire that scorched approximately 500 acres.

The Lalamilo fire in Waimea will be monitored. All evacuations have been lifted and all roads were opened as of Wednesday afternoon.

“As much as we’re not doing active firefighting today, these are still dangerous areas and could flare up until we get some rain and green up,” said Deputy Fire Chief Eric Moller with the Hawai‘i Fire Department.


Moller said no aerial water drops were used to fight these fires because the hurricane-force winds made it too dangerous to fly helicopters. When the winds subsided on Wednesday, fire crews decided to keep the birds grounded since the fires were burning among homes and didn’t want to cause damage.

Moller said the department ultimately sent the helicopters over to Maui as wildfires have devastated the island communities, burning much of Lahaina to the ground, with a death toll now at 36 and with many more injured.

The Hawaiʻi Fire Department has 18 firefighters ready to deploy to Maui if their assistance is needed.


On the Big Island, 85 firefighters were divided between the Akoni Pule and Mauna Kea Beach fires. They used 28 apparatus and 7 bulldozers to help contain the fires. Hawai‘i Island also had firefighting assistance from Pōhakuloa Training Area, the Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Volcanoes National Park and volunteer firefighters.

There was minimal property damage reported. The roofing of only one structure was damaged in the blaze in Kohala Ranch. No homes on the Mauna Kea Beach Resort property were impacted by the fire. The Mauna Kea Beach Resort lost a utility building.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a full-time reporter for Pacific Media Group. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.

Tiffany can be reached at [email protected].
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