MAKAKILO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A major brush fire that threatened homes in Makakilo Monday afternoon had been brought under control by Honolulu firefighters, but crews returned to the scene overnight to battle a flare up.
The first calls about the fire were received around 3:15 p.m. on Monday. Images from the scene showed smoke and flames on the hillside along the westbound lanes of the freeway near the Makakilo offramp.
Police initially blocked the far right lane of the freeway in the westbound direction as crews battled the fire, but have since reopened the roads.
The Department of Emergency Management opened an emergency shelter at Makakilo Community Park for those forced to evacuate because of the fire. Evacuations were not mandatory according to a Honolulu Fire Department spokesperson.
"When the fire went to the third house, behind the third house, that's when I was like, we need to go, we need to go right now," said Makakilo resident Wayne Richardson.
Honolulu police officers went door-to-door letting residents know about the shelter. Major Kurt Kendro says about 50 people showed up.
"A lot of families with animals, a lot of elderly people trying to get away from the smoke, but all voluntarily. The fire department knocked it down really quick," said Kendro.
Fire officials said the blaze burned approximately 80 acres and damaged 100 feet of vinyl fencing. At one point, 18 companies and about 60 personnel were used to fight the fire.
"The terrain and the high winds did have contributions to how quickly the fire spread. The homes were located uphill downwind which made it a concern for us, those homes being in jeopardy," said HFD Capt. David Jenkins.
This isn't the first time homes in this area have been in jeopardy. Residents say they're used to brush fires, but it's always frightening.
"About two years ago it happened, same area. But this time near the freeway now, so a little bit more acres that it covered. So yeah it's kinda scary," Arnold Burnett said.
Capt. Jenkins said the fire was fully contained by 5 p.m., but crews returned to the scene in response to the flare up.
There is still no word on a cause.
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