Big Island brush fire burns out of control
WAIKOLOA » A brush and grassland fire burned out of control across several hundred acres above the West Hawaii town of Waikoloa yesterday but no homes were immediately threatened.
Sustained south-southwest winds of 20 mph appeared to be carrying the blaze past the lightly populated Waikii area along the Saddle Road, Fire Chief Darryl Oliveira said at nightfall.
The winds pointed the fire in the direction of Waimea, but the town, lying about 10 miles beyond the fire, was in no immediate danger.
The fire, of unknown cause, was reported at 4:20 p.m. about a mile above Waikoloa. It jumped to a second spot nearby, but that was quickly contained, Oliveira said.
The main fire continued uphill, crossed Mamalahoa Highway and headed toward Saddle Road but didn't immediately reach it. Firefighters stationed themselves at a single house on Mamalahoa as a precaution.
Two county helicopters and a private one were in the area, and water drops started about 7 p.m. when water trucks arrived. One helicopter flew the perimeter of the blaze, taking a Global Positioning System reading to get a better picture of where it was located, Oliveira said.