Hawaii County firefighters remained on scene of a Kailua-Kona brush fire Sunday, dousing hot spots in the dry 8-acre burn area and ensuring that embers don’t reignite, said Kailua-Kona Fire Station personnel at press time.
The fire, which broke out around noon Friday in vacant land makai of Hualalai Elderly Housing, is still under control and completely contained, but not out. While access is difficult in some places of the burn area, firefighters are still able to attack the major flare-ups and keep things cool enough to make sure there’s zero spreading. A challenge is dealing with the kiawe’s extensive root systems, which are burning underground, said Acting West Hawaii Battalion Chief Kaipo Parish.
A Hawaii relative of mesquite, kiawe are nonnative trees that can burn intensely for long periods of time and are known carriers of firebrands.
Firefighters were expected to remain at the scene through Sunday night and this morning, Parish said.
According to the Fire Department, the brush fire appears to have started in an area north of Kamaaina Hale and quickly burned through the vacant parcel of brush and kiawe trees, coming within 20 feet of the Hualalai Elderly Housing. Fanned by winds blowing from the south, the fire progressed north toward Hualalai Road but never crossed the two-lane road, which was closed for several hours Friday afternoon.
The blaze also forced some residents to evacuate to the complex’s parking lot, however, no mandatory evacuation was ordered. The residents were allowed to return to their units around 3 p.m. Friday.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. No injuries were reported.