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More Than 1,100 Acres Scorched in Brush Fire Off of Highway 190

November 30, 2020, 9:13 AM HST
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Helicopter overview of brush fire off of Highway 190 on Nov. 29, 2020. (PC: Battalion Chief William Bergin)

Approximately 1,140 acres of land was scorched over the weekend after sparks from a welder ignited a fire in a grove of eucalyptus trees off of Highway 190.

Hawai‘i Fire Department was called to the blaze on Saturday afternoon. Highway 190 near mile marker 9 was closed due to heavy smoke and trees falling onto the roadway, said Hawaii Fire Battalion Chief William Bergin.

The upper road was closed for approximately 24 hours. Waikoloa Road to Highway 190 was also shut down on Saturday but reopened at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

“Motorists were understandably upset about the road closures, but we had to, for public and firefighter safety,” Bergin told Big Island Now. “Heavy smoke and falling trees created very hazardous conditions.”

Bergin said the flames jumped the highway and burned a mile down Waikoloa Road.

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Crews are still on scene. Bergin said the fire is now contained and firefighters will be on scene for several days stamping out hot spots and flareups.

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Bergin said the fire was sparked by a welder as a property owner in the area was welding some pipes for a fence.

No injuries have been reported. Bergin said the department received a lot of help from Hawai‘i Department of Transportation’s Highway Division to clear the trees. Pōhakuloa Training Area also brought resources as the flames moved into their land as well.

Several volunteer firefighters also responded to the scene.

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