Brush fire burns 40,000 acres on Hawaii’s Big Island

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Hawaii brush fire
Still image from Big Island Video News video, August 2, 2021.

A vegetation fire burned for about four days on Hawaii’s Big Island, blackening 40,000 acres according to estimates from fire officials. It is the largest brush fire on record for Hawaii County.

Evacuations were ordered for residents of three communities but have since been lifted.

Hawaii Fire
Hawaii Fire. Photo by 25th Infantry Division.

The fire was reported Friday morning near Mana Road in Waimea and quickly prompted the evacuation of Pu’u Kapu Hawaiian Homestead and Waiki’i Ranch. Two homes in the Department of Hawaiian Homelands Puukapu Subdivision were destroyed.

When the fire was spreading rapidly it was pushed by 18 to 20 mph winds gusting to 40 mph.

“There are no longer threats to life and property and all roadways are open in both directions,” wrote Hawaii County Mayor Roth on Facebook Tuesday. The incident has been downgraded from an emergency situation to a normal fire operation he said.

The Drought Monitor reports that more than half of the island is in moderate to severe drought.

Hawaii Fire map
Hawaii Fire, designated in red. Map by County of Hawaii.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park closed Hilina Pali and Mauna Loa roads to vehicle traffic due to the heightened fire danger.

“Staying safe while protecting the natural and cultural resources of the park is our top priority,” said park fire management officer Greg Funderburk. “Fire danger indexes in both areas are above the 90th percentile and any ignitions that occur would be difficult to suppress and likely to result in a large fire.”

The video below recorded heat detected by a satellite on the Big Island over a four day period. Hawaii is 10 hours behind UTC seen at upper left.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “Brush fire burns 40,000 acres on Hawaii’s Big Island”

  1. It is an interesting development in Hawaii. At this time, my visits to the Hawaiian Islands only include the Big Island. As a tourist, I have spent time in both Kailua-Kona and Waimaea (sp?). All things considered regarding climate change, I guess it is not a big surprise but still worrying. Thanks for sharing this information.


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