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Brush Fire Jumps Highway 190, Waikoloa Residents Asked to Evacuate

By Tiffany DeMasters
August 1, 2021, 1:22 PM HST
* Updated August 1, 6:36 PM
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Residents within Waikoloa have been asked to evacuate as a brush fire in South Kohala has jumped Highway 190 this afternoon.

During a press event this afternoon, Hawai‘i Fire Chief Kazuo Todd confirmed the blaze, which started Friday afternoon, is now exceeding 40,000 acres. With the current wind conditions, Todd believes the blaze will continue to move toward Waikoloa.

As a result, Waikoloa residents are being asked to start the process of evacuation. Todd said this isn’t a time to panic. An evacuation site has been established at Old Kona Airport.

For those in Waikoloa without transportation, buses are being sent to the Waikoloa golf course and Waikoloa Elementary School.

The fire crossed Highway 190 near the 9-mile area. As of 1:30 p.m., county officials say fire crews have been able to hold the flames at the highway line.

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As of Sunday afternoon, there are 50 fire apparatus on scene with over 140 personnel. The National Guard has also been called out to assist.

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Six choppers are working on the fire breaks and 14 dozers working to build fire lines.

“But at this time due to the high wind and weather patterns, the fire is continuing to break through our fire breaks,” Todd stated.

So far, two homes have been confirmed destroyed in the blaze. County officials say more abandoned shed-type structures have also been taken in the flames.

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Waikoloa is the third community to be ordered to evacuate due to the spreading fire. Evacuation orders are also in place for residents of Pu’u Kapu Hawaiian Homesteads and Waiki‘i Ranch.

Waimea District Park is also open as an evacuation site. American Red Cross and County officials are at both evacuation locations to assist.

Highway 190 from Waimea Airport to the Daniel K. Inouye Highway intersection and the Old Saddle Road are closed. Stay out of the area unless absolutely necessary so people can evacuate.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.
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