Hawaii Island wildfire grows to 16,800 acres burned; just 65% contained

Authorities estimate a blaze on Hawaii Island has burned more than 25,000 acres.
Authorities estimate a blaze on Hawaii Island has burned more than 25,000 acres.(DLNR)
Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 9:10 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 14, 2022 at 5:50 PM HST
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WAIKOLOA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Dozens of federal, state and county crews continued their battle Sunday against a large wildfire on Hawaii Island. At last check, it’s burned 16,800 acres.

Fire officials also said Sunday the fire was just 65% contained.

The so-called “Leilani” fire is centered near Waikoloa, and is not threatening any homes or infrastructure, but officials said strong winds and dry conditions are making containment difficult.

Officials said 41 firefighters were working alongside state and federal teams to battle the blaze on land and from above.

The active fire has largely moved onto the U.S. Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area land after burning across the Puu Anahula Game Management Area, in a region bounded by highways and an 1859 lava flow.

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Fire managers hope that flow will act as a natural fire line should it reach that point.

According to officials, the fire had been smoldering for weeks but erupted in size on Wednesday after getting whipped up by strong winds.

“This fire is very significant and it is taking this entire team of first responders to collectively contain its advances,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Cronin, commander, U.S. Army Garrison Pohakuloa Training Area.

“Working with the team of first responders here, our number one priority is the safety and well-being of the local community. The weather conditions are making this fight difficult to slow the advance of the fire, and our combined efforts are working to prevent it from reaching or crossing Highway 190.”

While there are no road closures, the county is asking the public to drive with caution as heavy equipment and personnel are in the area. Residents may also smell smoke from the flames.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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