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Kauai fire grows to 2,000 acres; 50 percent contained

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 4:53 p.m. HST, Aug 19, 2012

A fire above Kokee on Kauai has grown to about 2,000 acres, but was 50 percent contained as of this afternoon, Kauai County officials said.

Fire Chief Robert Westerman said crews are trying to maintain a perimeter around the blaze, which is burning along the Pokii, Paua and Waiaka ridges.

Power was still cut off to Kokee. Residents were asked to voluntary evacuate because of the outage and road closures.

“We are making progress in fighting the blaze, but we are in an area of very dry brush where spot fires can easily ignite,” Westerman said this morning. “It is crucial that fires are completely extinguished before we allow people back into the area. We understand the inconvenience this has posed to our community but safety is our number one priority.”

Firefighters briefly reopened Waimea Canyon Drive earlier in the day, but closed it again late this afternoon.

Firefighters were able to save a pump house on the east side of the fire that supplies water to all Waimea. However, electricity was still cut off to another water tank and Kekaha residents were still being urged to conserve water.

About 40  Kauai Fire Department, the Department of Publics Works, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Pacific Missile Range Facility personnel  and private contractors were battling the blaze.

Helicopters, bulldozers, a fuel tanker and water tenders were also on scene.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

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