On Friday firefighters spent the day mopping up smoldering areas across the 5,300 acres charred in Kahikinui since Monday afternoon.
Fire crews from the County and the State Forestry Division were spread out across the 8 square mile area of the fire. They walked along areas inaccessible to bulldozers and used hand tools and water packs on their backs to wet down hotspots found next to unburned brush. We also had bulldozers from Ulupalakua Ranch and Goodfellow Brothers Construction assist in creating additional firebreaks in the problem areas.
The fire department’s Air 1 helicopter was on hand throughout the day making water drops and bringing in water for crews mopping up. The chopper was also used to insert and pick up firefighters working in remote areas with no drivable access.
At 7:00 p.m. Friday, the fire was estimated to be 70 percent contained, with no active fires. There still may be smoldering areas so a fire engine and water tanker from Wailea will be spending Friday night out at the fire ground monitoring for any flare-ups.
It’s normal for prevailing winds in the Kahikinui area to blow in the 15 to 30 mph range so crews will keep a close watch in the coming days for possible flare-ups. If something is inconspicuously smoldering and you allow enough time to go by with fanning winds, it will rekindle.
It was decided to close the American Red Cross shelter that was opened at Keokea Park in Kula since Monday evening. They will reopen the shelter if it becomes necessary in the days ahead.