Miloli‘i fire now at 200 acres

KOKE‘E — Firefighters and DLNR workers continue fighting a 200-acre wildfire that began Monday on Miloli‘i Ridge near Koke‘e.

For the third day, Department of Land and Natural Resources personnel are continuing to suppress a fire growing on state land in the Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve. It started on Miloli‘i Ridge, six miles southwest of Koke‘e State Park.

There is no threat to the park or park structures. The Miloli‘i Ridge Trail remains closed to hiking and a Temporary flying restriction is in effect until 7 p.m. Sunday to aid helicopters trying to extinguish the fire from the air.

The Kaua‘i Fire Department on Thursday brought its communications vehicle to the scene of the fire to assist the multiple-agency response team in communicating directly with each other.

“With the use of our communications vehicle, all crews are now able to correspond on one tactical channel,” stated Deputy Fire Chief John Blalock. “With a full team in the air and multiple agencies on the ground, communication is of vital importance to the safety of our responders.”

In addition to the communications vehicle, county assets currently on scene include Air 1, Engine 7, Truck 7, and a water tender provided by the Department of Public Works.

There are 19 DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife personnel constructing a fire line and extinguishing hot spots with hand tools, with support from a Kaua‘i Fire Department hand crew of five.

Pacific Missile Range Facility provided a five-member hand crew to establish a fire perimeter around one of its facilities in the area.

DLNR reports that steep terrain and limited ground access have made the blaze difficult to put out. However, no structures are threatened and no injuries have been reported.

Three helicopters, two contract hires and County Air 1 are providing water drops along steep terrain with up to 60-degree grades in some areas.

Two state wildfire trucks with mobile water pumps are on-scene. KFD has brought in a County Public Works water tender to ensure a water source closer to the fire for air operations.

DLNR said personnel have hoses reaching sections of the fire perimeter, with a quarter-mile of chained hand-line.

State firefighters are again expected to be there throughout the day.  Wildfire fighting crews from O‘ahu and Maui DOFAW will fly in Friday to help the ground effort and provide logistical support.

Concerns remain for firefighter safety as well as presence of threatened and endangered plants in the adjacent Kuia Natural Area Reserve where the fire has entered.

Among the rare plants found there are the Kokia Kauaiensis, a rare native hibiscus, and the Euphorbia ha‘ele‘eleana.

The fire was reported Monday afternoon to DLNR’s forestry division on Kaua‘i and was burning in molasses grass and Slash pine, with pukiawe and aalii understory.

The cause of the fire is unknown but may be due to an unauthorized camping fire.

“Summer weather will lead to more dry conditions, so we are asking the public to be fire-smart and help prevent wildfires by not making ground fires and being careful to ensure that camp stoves are correctly used,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson.


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