Crews attack
Leeward fire’s
last hot spots

State officials begin
to assess the damage
to Kaena Point wildlife

Nearly 60 city and federal firefighters spent yesterday stamping out hot spots of a brush fire that burned an estimated 1,000 acres in Leeward Oahu near Kaena Point.

Fire Capt. Emmit Kane said 45 firefighters from the Honolulu Fire Department and 14 firefighters from the Federal Fire Department battled the blaze.

The HFD's Air One helicopter and two Black Hawk helicopters from the Army's 25th Infantry Division assisted with water drops in areas inaccessible to ground personnel. Six officials from the state Department of Land & Natural Resources also assessed the damage to native wildlife.

The blaze started Friday night near the Air Force's Kaena Point Satellite Tracking Station and was brought under control Saturday. Kane said firefighters left the site at 4:24 p.m. yesterday. The cause of the fire is undetermined.

Patrick Costales, Oahu branch manager of the state's Forestry and Wildlife Division, said the fire burned an estimated 918 acres at Yokohama Bay, also known as Keawaula, 52 acres at Kuaokala Reserve and 30 acres at the Makua Military Reservation.

An endangered plant called akoko was believed to be at risk at Keawaula, Costales said.

"We have to confirm with a field survey," he said.

Common native plants that were also believed to be affected include aalii, lama, wiliwili and alahee.

"Some of them will respond back. At this point we don't know what the recovery will be," said Costales.

The game bird population, along with nesting seabirds, wedge-tailed shearwaters and some albatross, were not believed to be harmed by the brush fire, he added.

The Kuaokala and Mokuleia Forest Reserve and a game preserve managed by DLNR will be closed to the public until further notice.

"The area is unusually dry," said Costales. "We want to give it a rest for a while."

DLNR patrol officers will inspect the area today.


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