Friday, June 24, 2022|
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A pair of brush fires that sparked Wednesday afternoon south of Waimea appear to have been ignited by lightning.
Hawaii Fire Department personnel and volunteers responded about 3 p.m. Wednesday to two separate brush fires about 1.5 miles west mile marker 3 on Highway 190, also known as Mamalahoa Highway. According to various officials, the fires appear to have been triggered by lightning strikes amid inclement weather.
At the time, an upper-level disturbance was passing over the Big Island, triggering heavy showers and thunderstorms over areas of South Kohala, Ka‘u and Hamakua, Honolulu-based National Weather Service Meteorologist Derek Wroe said. Rainfall rates of 1 to 3 inches were reported at the time.
“I can confirm there were lighting strikes in that area,” Wroe said Thursday.
One longtime Waimea resident reported the thunder Wednesday afternoon was the loudest he’d ever experienced, describing it like a sonic boom with a few more to follow.
It prompted him to actually get up, go outside and make sure that Maunakea had not begun erupting.
One of the fires burned about 42 acres while the other consumed some 450 acres before crews were able to contain the blaze. Firefighters remained on scene Thursday afternoon mopping up any hotspots.
No structures were threatened. Neither fire prompted a road closure.
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