US Army: “Fire is very important” in the PTA zone

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August 11, 2022, 12:45 PM HST

The U.S. military reported Thursday, August 11 that first responders on the ground and in the air immediately battled the wildfire that broke out in the western part of the Pōhakuloa training area on Wednesday and swept through. continued through the night, with assets from the U.S. Army, Hawai’i County, state DOFAW, National Park Service, and local volunteer firefighters.

Ground units concentrate on firebreaks in front of the blaze to keep it from advancing, and crews drop large buckets of water to extinguish the advancing flames. It advanced at a high speed given the winds of more than 30 mph and extremely dry conditions, the military said.

The following assets are currently engaged in firefighting:
• 6 large earthmoving bulldozers creating firewalls (approximately)
• 3 army helicopters performing water bucket drops
• 2 Hawaii County helicopters performing water bucket drops
• More than 30 people (approximately)
• 10 brush trucks, motors and tanks (approximately)

“This fire is very large and it takes this entire team of first responders to collectively contain its advances,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Cronin, commanding officer of the U.S. Army Garrison Training Area in Pohakuloa.

The fire has so far burned more than 10,000 acres of land on PTA and state lands west of PTA. Containment efforts continue and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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“Working with the first responder team here, our number one priority is the safety and well-being of the local community,” Cronin said. “Weather conditions are making this struggle difficult to slow the fire’s progress, and our combined efforts are working to prevent it from reaching or crossing Highway 190.”

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The freeway remains open, the county reported earlier Thursday.

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