State, county and federal fire fighting teams number 110 continued to fight the Mauna Kea fire along Saddle Road on the slopes of Mauna Kea. Traffic is being detoured through an old section of Saddle Road and Mauna Kea State Recreation Area remains closed until further notice.
Five military and charter helicopters continued water drops to help prevent spread of the fire and address flare-ups in the burn area, which includes area designated as critical habitat for native Hawaiian endangered species. Windy conditions buffeted area Saturday (Aug 28) during firefighting operations.
Crews also continued work with bulldozers to improve the fire control line on both the west and east sides of the fire. Mop-up continued on the fire perimeter.
Roger Imoto, DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife Hawaii branch manager said “If the weather stays the same, there is a good chance we can continue to make progress. But there is still a very real threat that if the wind should pick up, the fire could take off again into critical habitat for endangered palila forest birds.”
The bulk of the manpower are hand crews working in steep terrain that is inaccessible to bulldozers and where the fire is as yet uncontained.
Fire fighting night operations will continue on the ground again, with mop up and patrols driving along the fire break to make sure no spot fires jump the firebreak line.
Burn area acreage has been revised to 1,386 acres with 60 percent containment.
A section of the old Saddle Road alignment has been reopened to traffic to avoid the fire area.
The public is urged to drive with caution due to fire vehicles leaving the Mauna Kea State Recreation Area and Pohakuloa Trailing Area base.