Ige declares state of emergency for Big Island wildfire that scorched up to 50,000 acres

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Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 5:03 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 4, 2021 at 5:19 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Amid an ongoing brush fire on Hawaii Island, Gov. David Ige issued an emergency disaster declaration Wednesday to provide funding and resources to those affected.

County officials said the blaze, which broke out at Parker Ranch in Waimea on Friday, is now 95% contained. The county said this effort is thanks to the tireless work of firefighters and multiple agencies.

The president of the ranch estimated that about 50,000 acres have burned so far and said they have lost about 100 animals to the wildfire.

If the acreage burned is confirmed, it would be the largest wildfire in state history.

“No one anticipated this. Ranching is a business that has a lot of risks. We see fire pretty much every year, different orders of magnitude,” said Dutch Kuyper, the president and CEO of Parker Ranch.

“Nobody has any memory of anything nearly this size.”

At least two homes in Puu Kapu — which is located near Parker Ranch — were destroyed.

“It just hurts us to know that properties were damaged. I am so glad that lives weren’t lost,” Kuyper said. “Our hearts go out to those families, and we will do what we can to help them and we feel that sorrow and we’re sorry that they had those loses.”

It’s unclear what started the fire, and no injuries were reported.

The governor said the emergency declaration will allow much-needed resources to flow to Hawaii County. The disaster emergency relief period will continue through October.

The county has set up an online portal to report damages as a result of the fire. Click here for the form.

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