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Voluntary evacuation of Kokee due to wildfire

Published On: Aug 30 2012 10:33:20 AM HST
Updated On: Aug 19 2012 07:17:52 AM HST

A 12-hundred acre wildfire on Kauai prompted a voluntary evacuation of Kokee State Park on Saturday.

KOKEE, Hawaii -

The Kauai Fire Department is asking for a voluntary evacuation of Kokee State Park as of 4:15 p.m. Saturday due to a wildfire, according to Kauai County officials.

No structures are currently in danger, however, road access to and from Kokee via Waimea Canyon Drive may need to be closed in the firefighting effort.

Kokee Road at Kekaha Road is already closed to through traffic.

Anyone currently in Kokee is asked to evacuate as soon as possible.

Electrical power to Kokee has been turned off and is not expected to be restored until tomorrow at the earliest.

Also, the request for water conservation for residents and businesses in Kekaha and Waimea remains in effect.

"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," said Fire Chief Robert Westerman.

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 Saturday, 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, the Pacific Missile Range Facility, 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.

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