ROBERT WESTERMAN, CHIEF
Tel (808) 241-4980
Fax (808) 241-6508
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.
|Bambi Bucket Working Kokee Fire|
Credit: Brian Howell