Homes Temporarily Evacuated Because Of Brush Fire

KAWAIHAE, Hawaii (AP) -- Fire crews worked into the night Sunday battling a blaze that forced the temporary evacuation of up to 50 homes while scorching about 800 acres of pasture land, fire officials said.

Big Island firefighters were not venturing into the area on foot because of the possibility of live ordnance left over from nearby Camp Tarawa, a World War II training area, the firefighter Chad Chun Fat said.

Battalion Chief Curtis Matsui said the evacuations in the Waiula Drive self-help housing project were ordered as a precaution while the blaze burned out of control.

The residents were later allowed to returns to their homes, fire officials said.

The fire was reported at 11 a.m., with winds sweeping the flames south toward Waikoloa.

``The fire was running pretty good when we got here this morning,'' Chun Fat said. ``It was whipping.''

The winds died down later in the day as three bulldozers worked to create fire breaks and three helicopters made repeated water drops, he said.

The helicopter drops were stopped at dusk and likely would resume Monday at first light, Chun Fat said.

No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire was under investigation, fire official said.

Kawaihae Road was closed for much of the afternoon, but was reopened shortly after 6 p.m.