Koke`e Wildfire Updates — Waimea Canyon Road Re-opened

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Koke`e Wildfire Updates — Waimea Canyon Road Re-opened

File photo from Po`ipu fire on Nov. 18, 2011 shows the strength of wildfire on Kaua`i. This is NOT a photo of the fire in Koke`e. Photo by Arnold Meister

File photo from Po`ipu fire on Nov. 18, 2011 shows the strength of wildfire on Kaua`i. This is NOT a photo of the fire in Koke`e. Photo by Arnold Meister

August 21, 2012

8:15 a.m.

From the County

Officials Re-open Waimea Canyon Drive

KOKE‘E – Officials have reopened Waimea Canyon Drive this morning as the Kokee fire is now 70% contained.
Kokee Road remains closed until further notice.
The blaze, which began late Thursday night, has scorched roughly 3,000 acres along the Pokii, Paua and Waiaka ridges.
The Department of Water continues to request that Kekaha residents limit water consumption to essential uses only until power can be restored to a water storage tank that services the area.
Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) last night reported that utility crews continue to repair damaged power lines. Power is expected to be fully restored by tomorrow.
Kaua’i fire personnel remain at the scene to assist the State Department of Land and Natural Resources in extinguishing the fire.

 

August 20, 2012

7:16 p.m.

From the County

Media Update on Kokee

Fire officials estimate that the Kokee wildfire has grown to roughly 3,000 acres but is now 70% contained.

Roughly 50 personnel from the Kauai Fire Department and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) were on scene today with the assistance of additional equipment provided by multiple private contractors, including: one helicopter; four water tenders; five bulldozers; and two excavators.

Four fighters will remain on site throughout tonight to monitor the fire and mitigate any potential flare-ups.

County fire crews will continue to assist DLNR as needed tomorrow.

Kokee Road and Waimea Canyon Drive remain closed at this time.

The water conservation notice for Kekaha remains in effect until further notice.

August 19, 2012

4:30 p.m.

From the county

Waimea Canyon Drive closed

KOKEE – Due to a recent flare-up in the Kokee wildfire, officials have closed Waimea Canyon Drive.
The fire is now 50% contained but has grown to roughly 2,000 acres.

The water conservation request for the Kekaha community remains in effect and power is still down for residents and businesses in Kokee.

Crews continue to fight high winds and dry conditions to contain the fire that began shortly after midnight Friday.
Roughly 40 personnel from multiple agencies, including: the Kauai Fire Department; the Department of Public Works; the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR); the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF); and private contractors continue to work together in battling the blaze.

Updates on the fire will be released as information becomes available.

 

August 19, 2012

10:30 a.m.
From the County

Crews work to contain Kokee wildfire

KOKEE – Crews continue to make steady progress in fighting the wildfire along the Pokii, Paua and Waiaka ridges in Kokee today.

Fire Chief Robert Westerman estimates the fire is roughly 20% contained. While the fire remains to be around 1,000 acres in size, crews have now secured a perimeter around the blaze, giving them the upper hand on suppression efforts.

“We are very grateful for everyone’s support, particularly the Pacific Missile Range Facility,” said Chief Westerman. “With the addition of their personnel and equipment, we were able to save the water pump house located on the east side of the fire. This pump house provides water to the entire Waimea community.”

Power to that pump house has since been fully restored; however, there is one more tank that remains without power this morning. As a precautionary measure, the water conservation request remains in effect for the Kekaha community.

Chief Westerman has confirmed that crews from the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) will now be allowed into certain areas to inspect and repair any damage to power lines.  At this time, power to the Kokee area remains down and therefore the voluntary evacuation for residents and businesses in Kokee continues through at least today.
Kokee Road also remains closed and access to Waimea Canyon Drive is limited to residents only.

“We are making progress in fighting the blaze, but we are in an area of very dry brush where spot fires can easily ignite,” added Chief Westerman. “It is crucial that fires are completely extinguished before we allow people back into the area. We understand the inconvenience this has posed to our community but safety is our number one priority.”

Roughly 40 personnel from multiple agencies, including: the Kauai Fire Department; the Department of Public Works; the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR); the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF); and private contractors continue to work together in battling the blaze that began shortly after midnight on Friday.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

August 18, 2012

4:15 p.m.

KAUA’I FIRE DEPARTMENT

News Release

Update on Kokee wildfire –

KOKEE – Firefighters continue to battle a wildfire in Kokee, and although structures are not in danger at this time, Fire Chief Robert Westerman is asking for a voluntary evacuation of Kokee.

“Because we feel access out of Kokee via Kokee Road and Waimea Canyon Drive may be compromised as we continue to fight the fire, we’re recommending that anyone currently in Kokee evacuate now,” stated Westerman. He added that the Kokee Road/Kekaha Road junction remains closed.

The fire is estimated to be over 1,000 acres in size, and while highly visible to residents in the area, there is no immediate threat to any homes or buildings.

In the interest of public safety, the public is urged to keep away from the area if at all possible.

As the fire approached a high voltage power line earlier today, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative officials initiated a voluntary power outage for all of Kokee as a precaution. The outage will remain in effect until at least tomorrow.

Power to nearby water storage tanks has also been suspended. The Department of Water continues to request residents and businesses in the Kekaha and Waimea area to restrict water consumption to essential uses only — such as cooking, bathing, and toilet flushing — until further notice.

Restricting water consumption to essential uses reduces the likelihood of a total water outage.

Personnel from the County of Kauai Fire Department, the Department of Publics Works, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) and private contractors continue to work together in battling the blaze.

The above agencies have also provided equipment, such as helicopters, bulldozers, a fuel tanker and water tenders to assist in suppression efforts.

Updates on the fire will be released as more information becomes available.

 

August 18

12:50 p.m.

News Release

For Immediate Release: August 18, 2012

KOKEE – A wildfire that broke out late Thursday night near Pokii Ridge in Kokee has since spread to nearby areas, including Paua and Waiaka ridges.

The fire is estimated to be over 1,000 acres in size, and while highly visible to residents in the area, there is no immediate threat to any homes or buildings.

In the interest of public safety, the public is urged to keep away from the area if at all possible.

Access to Waimea Canyon Drive is now being restricted to homeowners and residents only. Kokee Road, from the Kokee/Kekaha Road junction, also remains closed at this time.

As the fire approached a high voltage power line earlier today, Kauai Island Utility Officials initiated a voluntary power outage for all of Kokee as a precaution. The outage will remain in effect until it is safe to restore power.

Power to nearby water storage tanks has also been suspended. The Department of Water is requesting residents and businesses in the Kekaha and Waimea area to restrict water consumption to essential uses only – such as cooking, bathing, and toilet flushing – until further notice.

Restricting water consumption to essential uses reduces the likelihood of a total water outage.

Personnel from the County of Kauai Fire Department, the Department of Publics Works, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) and private contractors continue to work together in battling the blaze.

The above agencies have also provided equipment, such as helicopters, bulldozers, a fuel tanker and water tenders to assist in suppression efforts.

Updates on the fire will be released as more information becomes available.

 

August 18

11:10 a.m. received

Pacific Missile Range Facility

PRESS RELEASE

PMRF assists with Kokee wildfire

(PACIFIC MISSILE RANGE FACILITY) – The Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), Barking Sands is assisting the County of Kauai’s Fire Department and the Department of Land and Natural Resources with efforts to extinguish a wildfire endangering the area above the town of Kekaha.

At approximately 6:54 a.m. today, PMRF received a request from the County of Kauai emergency services to help combat a wildfire that originated in Kokee.  PMRF immediately dispatched a fire truck, a fire command unit and four civilian firefighters from Manu Kai, PMRF’s contract fire department, to assist with the blaze.  The trucks and crew will be used for boundary firefighting and the direct defense of the residents and property in the town of Kekaha.  According to Sarah Blane, the County of Kauai’s Public Information Assistant, there is no immediate threat to the people and the homes of Kekaha.

PMRF’s airfield was also opened for the refueling support for the county’s firefighting helicopters.  PMRF’s contract helicopter company, Croman Corp., has two helicopters with firefighting capabilities and is standing by to provide assistance if requested.

PMRF maintains a Memorandum of Understanding with the county to render emergency assistance when called upon.

 

AUGUST  17

4:45 p.m.

From the County

Kokee Road closed and water conservation request issued for Kekaha while crews continue to fight Kokee fire

KOKEE – Kauai police report that due to a flare up in the Kokee wildfire, Kokee Road, from the Kokee/Kekaha Road junction, is closed until further notice.

Traffic is being diverted to Waimea Canyon Drive.

There is no immediate threat to any structures.

However, power has been shut off to a nearby area where Department of Water storage tanks are located. As a cautionary measure, the Department of Water is requesting that Kekaha residents and visitors conserve water and restrict water consumption to essential uses only until power can be restored.

Updates on the water conservation request will be given as more information becomes available.

Kauai firefighters have added Air 1 to the fire fighting effort as they continue to assist the Department of Land and Natural Resources in containing the blaze.

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