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Wildfire spreads into Big Island national park

  • COURTESY HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

    This undated photo provided by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Monday shows a brushfire that spread into the park.

  • COURTESY HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK

    This undated photo provided by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Monday shows a brushfire that spread into the park.

A brushfire that started Sunday morning on Keauhou Ranch has crossed Mauna Loa Road and entered Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, park officials said.

The fire, reportedly sparked during repairs to a bulldozer, was moving west towards Kapapapala Ranch, and was not contained at about 1:30 p.m. It was estimated at about 700 acres.

National Park Service and Hawaii County firefighters are working to control the blaze. Firefighters from the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife and volunteer firefighters from Volcano have also responded.

While no homes or structures were at risk, the fire scorched native koa forest, an important habitat for the Hawaiian hawk and Hawaiian bat.

Strong winds and dry conditions at the fire’s 4,800-foot elevation were making it a challenge to control, park officials said.

The next significant rainfall is not expected in the area until Wednesday, about the time Hurricane Hector is anticipated to begin impacting Hawaii.

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