UPDATE: 6:20 p.m.
The evacuation centers on the Big Island have been closed as the risk from the Waimea brush fire abates, according to the American Red Cross.
Hawaii County officials said the fire that burned two homes and more than 40,000 acres remains stable, but not contained, as of this evening.
Authorities have reopened all public roadways affected by the Waimea and South Kohala brush fire.
Highway 190 and Waikoloa Road are now opened in both directions, with accessibility to the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, officials said, while Old Saddle Road is open to one lane of traffic from Waikii Ranch to Waimea with access to residents only.
They said fire crews will continue to battle the blaze through the night.
Firefighters have gotten more control over a wildfire in Waimea that forced thousands of people to evacuate over the weekend and destroyed at least two Big Island homes, but officials warned strong winds today could raise the danger again.
Authorities lifted evacuation orders Sunday night for Pu’u Kapu Hawaiian Homestead, Waikii Ranch and Waikoloa Village, but warned they could be reinstated at any time and that people should be ready to go.
“This is the largest fire that we’ve had here in Hawaii County,” Cyrus Johnasen, spokesman for Hawaii island Mayor Mitch Roth, said of the more than 62-square-mile blaze. “We would like folks to feel safe but not forget that this is an emergency.”
Two homes were confirmed destroyed by the fire.
As of this morning, road closures included Highway 190 from Waimea Airport to the Daniel K. Inouye Highway intersection; the Old Saddle Road; and Waikoloa Road from Paniolo Drive to Highway 190. Evacuation shelters at the Old Kona Airport in Kailua-Kona and Waimea District park remain open, county officials said.
While there was no imminent threat to homes, county officials urges residents to return to their homes only if “absolutely necessary,” Sunday night.
Hawaii County Fire Chief Kazuo Todd was worried by today’s forecast for stronger trade winds.
“Our current wind forecast is showing wind patterns between 18 to 20 mph, with gusts up to 40 mph,” he said Sunday night, “and so while throughout the evening our crews will be working to build fire breaks with dozers and back burns, this temporary lift on the mandatory evacuation may have to be reinforced later on due to prevailing weather patterns.”
The fire chief said nearby communities could be inundated with smoke and that anyone with health or breathing problems should find somewhere else to stay.
Today, Johnasen said homes weren’t in danger, but “that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be in danger later this evening, or early tomorrow morning or even later this week.”