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Multiple agencies contain 1,400-acre wildfire on Hamakua Coast

More than 50 Hawaii county, state and volunteer firefighters, battled a 1,400-acre wildfire in Paauilo along the Hamakua Coast overnight.

The blaze initially threatened 15 homes and 10 structures, that was first reported late Friday morning.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources said the fire was 80% contained at 2:30 p.m. today, although the Hawaii County Fire Department said it was 90% contained at 12:20 p.m. today.

The Hawaii County Fire Department said the flames started makai of Highway 19, and spread mauka through embers. At 5 p.m. Friday the blackened area was already estimated to be 1,000 acres. The agricultural area has various landowners, the fire department said.

The cause is undetermined, the fire department said.

Police shut down the highway in both directions in Paauilo for several hours and later opened up one lane Friday evening.

The wildfire burned through underbrush and eucalyptus trees on private land between Antone De Luz Road and Pohakea Road.

DLNR said 52 Hawaii County Fire Department, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, landowner Kamehameha Schools and the county public works department fought the Paauilo fire late Friday using 32 pieces of firefighting equipment, including two helicopters.

DLNR noted “the region is typically on the wet side, but wildfire experts say in this era of global climate change even moist areas can become susceptible to wildfires.”

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