Firefighters Tuesday continue to battle two brush fires that have consumed more than 2,300 acres in the Pahala area.
One of the fires, located makai of Highway 11, had consumed 1,900 acres as of 9 a.m. Tuesday, said East Hawaii Battalion Chief Aaron Arbles. The blaze, which came within 100 yards of Ka’u Hospital, is about 40 percent contained, he said.
The hospital was evacuated Monday due to smoke crossing the highway and entering the building. It remained evacuated as of 10 a.m. Tuesday. Winds also fanned embers across the highway, igniting small fires in the area, which firefighters quickly doused, he said.
The second fire, located mauka of Pahala, has burned about 400 acres, he said. He estimated the fire is about 60 percent contained.
One home is in the fire’s path, however, crews are on the scene to protect the structure, Arbles said. No evacuation has been ordered for the residence.
Arbles said firefighters are currently dealing with 10 mph to 15 mph winds from the southwest. Choppers are continuing water drops and approximately 30 firefighters are on scene.
Highway 11 remains open to both lanes of traffic, Arbles said. He cautioned motorists to drive carefully due to heavy smoke in the area and fire crews at the scene. He also warned motorists to be prepared for delays and possible road closures.