Brush fire scorches 50 acres, shuts down highway in Wahiawa

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A brush fire North of Wahiawa got dangerously close to the highway – causing officials to close the road and backing up traffic into Wahiawa. 

In the end, the fire burned 50 acres of brush and burned for more than four hours before firefighters extinguished. 
     
The brush fire burned near Dole plantation, right across the street from Green World Coffee Farm.
  
As firefighters tried to keep the flames at bay, a portion of Kamehameha Highway was closed from Whitmore Village to Helemano Plantation.

Dozens of cars turned around or pulled over to the side.

“All the traffic going the other way, so we can sit in traffic going back and try to get through Waialua or we can sit here and at least see what’s going on,” motorist Leslie Maxwell said. 

The fire burned pretty close to the edge of Kamehameha Highway. Because of the wind conditions, fire officials were worried the fire was going to jump the road.

“The trade winds were going this way when we first arrived on scene, so the perimeter along Kamehameha Highway was burning. It was in danger of jumping Kamehameha Highway, but the wind shifted and it started burning the opposite direction so it worked in our favor,” Battalion Chief Paul Kato said.

Kato says the wind did not help spread the fire, instead he says it was pretty slow-moving. 

But the charred brush shows just how close the fire got to the road.

Green World Coffee Farm made a few adjustments by closing some windows and doors. They kept business as usual.

Fire officials say several abandoned vehicles and debris within homeless camps in the area were damaged in the fire.  
     
We’re told no injuries were reported, and the cause is still unknown at this time.

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