Anahola brush fire burns 40 acres of state land

ANAHOLA — Eleven Kaua‘i Fire Department firefighters battled a large brush fire in Anahola for almost two hours yesterday afternoon before it was deemed under control.

The fire, called in to emergency dispatch at roughly 1:45 p.m., burned 40 undeveloped acres owned by the state’s Department of Hawaiian Home Lands before being contained at roughly 3:30 p.m., according to county spokeswoman Mary Daubert

Daubert said nobody was injured, no evacuations were necessary and no structures were threatened by the blaze, which belched large amounts of dark smoke into the air.

The steady crackling sound of burning tall grass and trees was punctuated by the occasional pop of abandoned vehicles’ exploding gas tanks.

Five firefighters from Kapa‘a, one from Kalaheo, one spare engine and four rescue specialists from Lihu‘e joined Battalion Chief Teddy Williams at the scene, Daubert said.

Two large and three smaller fire trucks were assisted in the effort by two frontloaders, two water tankers and aerial support from Inter-Island’s Air-1 helicopter.

Firefighters and Air-1 continued to put out hot spots on the large Anahola Homestead subdivision makai of Kuhio Highway until after 6 p.m., Daubert said.

The frontloaders, typically used in construction, were utilized to clear areas of brush in an attempt to slow down the advancing flames.

The Kaua‘i Police Department set up a barricade of cones and cruisers at the junction of Kukuihale and Pilipoli roads to direct local traffic.

KPD Sgt. Sandy Wakumoto said five officers on the scene were working to keep the public away from the fire, both for safety purposes and to allow the KFD to do its job.

Daubert said there were no immediate plans to conduct an investigation, as there was no reason to suspect arson. She cited dry seasonal conditions as the likely cause of the fire.

KFD asks residents to exercise caution during the dry summer months.

Williams advised the public to be particularly cautious when discarding cigarettes and extinguishing campfires.

“We need everyone to be aware of the fact that it’s very dry right now, and careless acts such as throwing cigarettes out of car windows can have devastating effects,” Williams said. “Fortunately, no one was hurt and no structures were burned in today’s fire.”

• Michael Levine, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or mlevine@kauaipubco.com

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