Kawaihae brush fire chars 400 acres

  • Chopper 2 makes a water drop on a brush fire between Kohala by the Sea and Hawaiian Homelands on Thursday. See more photos on page 7A. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • A brushfire smolders between Kohala by the Sea and Hawaiian Homelands Thursday in Kawaihae. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • A brushfire smolders between Kohala by the Sea and Hawaiian Homelands Thursday in Kawaihae. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Chopper 1 makes a water drop on the brush fire.

  • Flames are seen near homes at Kohala by the Sea at Thursday’s brush fire in Kawaihae.

  • Battalion Chief William Bergin points out the area that needs a firebreak to an Isemoto heavy equipment operator.

  • Chopper 2 makes a water drop on a brush fire between Kohala by the Sea and Hawaiian Homelands on Thursday. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • Firefighters assess hot spots at a brush fire between Kohala by the Sea and Hawaiian Homelands on Thursday. (Photos by Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

  • (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

No structures were destroyed Thursday after a brush fire broke out in the area Kohala By The Sea in Kawaihae.

The brush fire ignited shortly before 8:30 a.m. Thursday mauka of Akoni Pule Highway, in the area of mile marker 5.5, according to the Hawaii Fire Department.

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Witnesses said the fire spread mauka quickly, and as of 12:45 p.m., it had burned an estimated 164 acres in the area between the Kohala By The Sea subdivision in North Kohala and Department of Hawaiian Homelands subdivision in South Kohala, said Battalion Chief William Bergin.

Residents were standing by as the fire grew, some watering the area behind homes in both subdivisions as the fire made its way up Kohala Mountain.

Four Hawaii Fire Department companies, two Hawaii County helicopters, three volunteer fire companies and the U.S. Army Pohakuloa Training Area area worked the blaze Thursday, protecting dozens of homes. Fire department recruits also assisted.

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As of press-time Thursday, the fire had charred more than 200 acres and was 50% contained thanks to firebreaks established by county and private bulldozers. By 11 p.m. it had doubled in size to 400 acres. Containment was listed at 60%.

No structures were threatened, evacuations ordered or injuries reported, according to Bergin. Firefighters were to remain on the scene throughout the night.

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