Hanapepe blaze scorches 20 acres

HANAPEPE — Fire crews from the Kalaheo and Hanapepe fire stations worked to contain a brush fire to an estimated 20-acre parcel of land on Saturday afternoon.

The blaze was called in to dispatch at 12:09 p.m. according to a county press release, and the blaze was contained to the area on the Hanapepe Bay side of the Burns Field runway.

“At first, we thought a plane had crashed,” a spectator said who was watching the winds in the 15-knot range whip the blaze through the dry guinea grass and kiawe thickets. “With this wind, they’re going to have to keep an eye on this because there’s a lot of buried kiawe and the wind can whip it back up.”

Janna Yates of Pono Express she was transporting two women to Burns Field for a helicopter tour and that when they saw the smoke, they too thought an aircraft had gone down.

No structures were threatened. The Kaua‘i Police Department had three patrol cars stationed near the Hanapepe Veterans Cemetery to close down the road to Burns Field if it became necessary.

County park rangers assisted in evacuating a handful of individuals who were in the area. There were no reports of injuries.

The fire was under control by 1:30 p.m. and fully extinguished by 2:20 p.m., according to a county press release. The cause of the fire was unknown at press time.

It was a busy week for firefighters. Crews fought three fires at Lumaha’i and two separate blazes at one time in Anahola, just south of the Anahola Homestead residences.

While the cause of the Anahola fires remains under investigation, officials now suspect the Lumaha’i fires were intentionally set.

The Kaua’i Police Department has been called in to assist with the ongoing investigation. Anyone with information on the Lumaha’i brush fires is asked to contact Police Dispatch at 241-1711 or CrimeStoppers at 241-1887.

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