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Ookala Information Update for February 1st, 2020

Small brush fire in O'okala leads to the temporary closure of Highway 19 late Friday morning (January 31st).

The Hawaii Fire Department (HFD) along with the Hawaii Police Department (HPD) responded to a report of a brush fire on Highway 19 in the area of the 31-mile marker in O'okala late Friday morning.

The initial call came in at 11:53 am Friday morning and HFD crews from the Laupahoehoe, Honoka'a, and Waimea Fire Stations along with Battalion 1 and volunteers from the Pa'auilo Station and HPD officers from the Hamakua and North Hilo Patrols responded to the scene located at 31-mile marker on Highway 19 (Hawaii Belt Road) just north of O'okala.

Upon the arrival of emergency crews, reports came from bystanders driving in the area reported a brush fire approximately 1 acre in size was burning in heavy brush and spreading.

Once HFD crews arrived on scene, HFD crews immediately worked to contain the brush fire from further spread. Crews had the fire under control just before 12:30 pm Friday afternoon and commenced with wet down and mop-up operations. HFD crews had the fire fully extinguished just before 3:00 pm Friday afternoon.

Due to the brush fire, HPD officers temporarily closed Highway 19 between the 31 and 32-mile marker to all traffic while HFD crews worked to gain control of the fire. HPD officers later reopened Highway 19 to all traffic just before 1:00 pm Friday afternoon.

No injuries or damages to any structures were reported as a result of the brush fire. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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