State: Waimea fire 10-20 percent contained

WAIMEA — State and county fire fighting crews continue to battle a brush fire that is burning at the western edge of Waimea Canyon Tuesday. The fire is one of three that scorched over 60 acres of brush since yesterday.

About 30 DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildfire personal, along with the Kauai Fire Department, are establishing a control area between the 800- to 1,500-foot elevation of the mountain, amid grassland and haole koa shrubs. No homes or structures are threatened.

The fire was estimated at 10 to 20 percent contained as of mid-morning Tuesday.

A better estimate of fire acreage and containment percentage is expected late today after aerial reconnaissance and fire mapping is conducted.

The fire started around 3 p.m. Monday near the first water tank along Waimea Canyon Drive. It is located between two others in the Waimea area that drew out Kauai Fire Department and DLNR crews Monday. Those fires were under control by Monday afternoon.

Crews are using several fire pumper trucks, bulldozers, two water tender trucks, and a contract helicopter, which is doing water drops.

Gusty and erratic winds have been a challenge for firefighters. Fortunately the wind has been blowing away from Kekaha and Waimea towns.

No threatened or endangered species are located in this former cane growing area which is state land owned by Agribusiness Development Corporation, and managed as a public hunting area by DLNR/DOFAW.

Waimea Canyon Drive remained closed today. People are asked to avoid the area. Anyone going to Waimea Canyon State Park can still get there via Kekaha and Kokee Road.

The cause of these fires is not yet known.

However, initial county reports suggests the fire may have been ignited by sparks from a pickup truck operated by a Gay & Robinson employee.

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