The first sign of a busy winter occurred in Kawaihae this week. Although the area turned green and lush after the large summer Kawaihae fire that scarred 4,000+ acres, that also meant more plant growth and thus more fuel for the next fire. Within a few months, a chunk of the area that burned in August burned again. We call this the fire cycle.
Unfortunately, two HFD firefighters were injured when responding to the wildfire. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them and their ohana and we hope for a speedy recovery. We must give thanks everyday (not just on Thanksgiving) to the incredible firefighters who put their bodies and lives on the line to protect our communities and natural resources from fire.
"The residents of Kawaihae Village had another immediate view of the progressing blaze, as several watched the varying size of the smoke column, the actions of the Fire Department’s water-dropping helicopters and efforts of ground-based firefighters."
"Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said on Monday that they expect the upcoming dry season to have numerous fires. The unusually heavy rains encouraged plant growth, he said, particularly fountain grass. The invasive species survives fires, unlike native life, and 'makes excellent fuel for fires,' according to the Hawaii Invasive Species Council.
Oliveira said fountain grass forms the majority of fuel in the wildfires they see."