WAIMEA — Waimea Canyon Drive is closed at Panini Loop this afternoon due to three separate brush fires reported three miles mauka of Waimea town. Kauai Fire Department was the initial fire responding agency just before 2 p.m. today, and was also joined by firefighters from the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife.
The brush fires are located to the west side of Waimea Canyon Drive, on state property.
Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Parks remained open today. Traffic is being diverted onto Kokee Road until further notice. The public is advised to avoid the area if at all possible.
There is no damage or threat to structures at this time. The area involved is large, however no size estimate of the burn area is currently available.
Ground fire crews are being assisted by water drops from two helicopters, Air 1 and another helicopter contracted by DLNR. A lessee of the state-owned property also provided a bull dozer, a payloader and a water tender to assist first responders.
The fires are close to being contained at this time but hot spots may continue to smolder. The cause has not yet been determined. Anyone with information is urged to call police immediately at 241-1711.