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Hawaii island brush fire shuts down Highway 11

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A runaway brush fire in Pahala Monday afternoon caused the five-hour shutdown of Highway 11 and burned 200 acres.

Hawaii County firefighters used helicopters to make water drops and bulldozers to cut fire breaks to protect homes along Alahaki Road.

Firefighters responding to the 11:49 a.m. alarm found 20 acres of pasture land with tall grass, brush and trees burning on the makai side of Highway 11 and the flames threatening to cross the highway in multiple locations in the area of mile marker 56 and 57 near the intersection of Highway 11 and Ninole Loop.

Strong tradewinds fanned the flames and smoke from the fire limited visibility on the highway.

Firefightrers were able to contain the fire to vacant land on the southeast side of Highway 11 and below Hilea Road on the northwest side of Highway 11.

Police reopened the highway at 6:11 p.m.

Firefighters remained on scene overnight to monitor flare ups.

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