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Strong winds, rough terrain challenge crews battling Nanakuli wildfire

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    Honolulu Fire Department personnel were on scene this morning at what was described as a "large wildfire" in Nanakuli.


    Fire scorched a hillside above Nanaikapono Elementary School in Nanakuli today. Honolulu Fire Department personnel were on scene at what was described as a “large wildfire” in Nanakuli, mauka of Mokiawe, Helelua and Nanikeola streets. An emergency shelter was opened at Nanakuli High School.

A wildfire that ignited in Nanakuli valley before dawn and spread into Waianae has burned 500 acres but is now 80 percent contained after a daylong battle by firefighters, according to Fire Department Capt. Scot Seguirant.

HFD initially responded to a report of wildfire behind Nanakuli Sack-N-Save at 3:50 a.m. today, and the fire raged near Mokiawe, Helelua and Nanikeola streets in Nanakuli. It came as close as 100 feet to some homes, according to Seguirant.

From Nanakuli Valley, the blaze followed the natural topography of the lower mauka area, working its way around the mountain into Waianae Valley, he said.

No injuries or damages to homes as a result of the fire have been reported so far.

The Fire Department deployed 22 units staffed with 53 personnel and federal firefighters joined them in the effort. Crews continued to work late this afternoon to extinguish it on multiple fronts.

>> Click here to see more photos of the fire.

HFD said gusty wind conditions, limited accessibility and rough terrain hampered efforts to put out the flames.

Along with firefighters on the ground, HFD’s Air1 and Air2 helicopters are in the air conducting water drops in the area.

An American Red Cross emergency shelter that opened at Nanakuli High & Intermediate School early this morning to accommodate residents forced to evacuate due to the fire but was closed at midday.

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