2,500-acre brush fire along Nanakuli ridge now 90-percent contained


Weakening winds helped firefighters gain the upper hand on an ongoing brush fire along a ridge above Nanakuli Monday.

According to the Honolulu Fire Department, a fire that has been burning since 3 p.m. Thursday is now 90-percent contained Tuesday.

Firefighters went out in the afternoon to put out a small flare-up. Only DLNR ground crew members and a contracted helicopter is out taking care of hot spots.

Five fire companies, along with 15 personnel from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, were on scene Monday. Two helicopters were contracted for water drops.

The fire did not spread, keeping the acreage burned at 2,500 acres.

Steep, inaccessible terrain and windy conditions last week and over the weekend made the battle tough.

“It’s been difficult cause of weather, weather plays a big role cause in the daytime the wind usually comes down the slope but at night time things change and the wind changes direction and goes up slope so it plays tricks on the fire and helps go in a different direction,” said Honolulu Fire Department Capt. James Todd.

Crews managed to extinguish a portion of the fire was headed toward homes, and part of the fire that earlier threatened communication towers and lines passed without damage.

It was a sleepless night Friday for some Leeward Oahu residents as the fire came close to homes at one point.

“Our main objective is to protect the homes, so right now it’s pretty high up on the mountain, but just in case, there are some other hot spots, some embers still burning,” Paul Miguel with the Honolulu Fire Department said Friday. “The challenges are mainly because of the terrain, it’s kind of steep out there, even in the lower areas, it wasn’t always easily accessible. But we got some guys down there. They did a great job putting out the edge of fire, but we’re going to keep an eye on it, because there’s still a lot of hot spots.”

Crews received the call Thursday of a fire burning along the eastern ridge of Nanakuli.

The fire front was moving slowly downslope, and crews were deployed along Pikaiolena Street, Waiea Place and Huikala Place to safeguard homes as the fire front approached. Later Thursday evening, weather conditions changed and winds increased, intensifying the approaching fire.

As a result, HFD deployed additional personnel and equipment to protect the threatened structures. As the fire front approached homes, firefighters engaged the flames utilizing hose lines and hand tools to extinguish the fire.

Police shut down the westbound lanes of Farrington Highway at Ko Olina and informed neighborhood residents of a voluntary evacuation Thursday evening.

At approximately 10:30 p.m., the fire front near the homes was contained. The voluntary evacuation was lifted and residents were allowed back to their homes.

No damage or injuries were reported.

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