Crews face winds, rough terrain while battling large brush fire above Waialua

Photo: Steve Fanning

Update: Windy conditions and steep terrain continue to challenge firefighters in their efforts.

The lower fire front has been contained and no structures are directly threatened by the fire. The fire continues to burn in the upper inaccessible slopes and has entered into forested areas.

The fire is estimated to be approximately 450 acres in size and 50-percent contained. No injuries or property damage have been reported.

The cause of the fire has been determined to have been a work truck which was stopped in a grassy area. The truck was destroyed by the fire and the operators were unharmed.


Photo: U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii

Crews are battling a large brush fire in the mountains above Waialua.

The fire broke out at around 11 a.m. and was initially estimated at three acres.

However, fire officials say, strong winds and mountainous terrain prompted it to grow to 400 acres.

The battle has become a multi-agency effort, with crews from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and a Honolulu Police Department helicopter assisting the Honolulu Fire Department.

The Army’s 25th Combat Aviation Brigade had two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters dropping water buckets, with one UH-60 and one Chinook helicopter on standby for Thursday.

As of 5 p.m., the fire was still not under control, and officials say it could burn over the next several days.

No homes or structures are threatened, however the fire is threatening rare native and endangered plants.

Officials also say there are some power poles in the area. Crews are trying to keep them wet so they don’t catch fire.

DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers are on scene turning away hikers and bikers wanting to use the Mokuleia Forest Reserve access road to Peacock Flat campground.

These mountain areas, including the Peacock Flats Campground, will remain closed until the fire is contained. Access via the Kaena Point Satellite Tracking station road is also closed until further notice.

”We recognize the access road is popular with hikers and bikers. We appreciate their cooperation with this closure for safety reasons,” said Marigold Zoll, DOFAW Oahu branch manager.

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