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Residents allow to return as Ookala brush fire threat decreases

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UPDATE 8 p.m.

Ookala residents have been allowed back to their homes and Old Mamalahoa Highway has been reopened, as first responders fight back a brush fire in the area, the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said in a news release.

The agency said that “the brush fire threat in O‘okala has significantly decreased” this evening, but fire personnel will remain on the scene through the night to continue fighting and monitoring the conditions in the area.

Paauilo Gym will stay open as an evacuation shelter until Friday morning, the agency said.

Previous coverage

The Hawaii Fire Department is evacuating residents in Ookala on Hawaii island because of a brush fire in the area.

Mayor Mitch Roth said in a social media post that the evacuation is a precautionary measure and that the Paauilo Gym has been opened as an emergency shelter.

The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency said that the fire has burned about 10 acres of land as of 2 p.m. today. The fire is located in the Hamakua District, near the 30 Mile Marker, makai of Old Mamalahoa Highway.

So far no structures are threatened by the fire. Motorists have been asked to avoid the area as firefighters attempt to control the brush fire.

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