Oahu Hit Hard By Wildfires, Study Finds

Drs. Clay Trauernicht and Creighton Litton (both at University of Hawaii, CTAHR) gave excellent interviews regarding wildfires in Hawaii and the threats they pose on people and landscapes. Honolulu Star-Advertiser placed the story front and center on their Sunday paper and Hawaii Public Radio filled the airwaves about the scale and scope of Hawaii’s wildfire issues— information likely new to much of their audiences.  

In addition to Trauernicht and Litton of UH CTAHR, Elizabeth Pickett of HWMO was a co-author, along with Christian Giardina and Susan Cordell of the US Forest Service, and Andrew Beavers at the Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands at Colorado State University. HWMO created the database and fire history map that was the foundation of the research.  The research article can be found here:

"Firefighters battled a brush fire in upper Makakilo in August 2014. Authorities later determined that the fire was started by two boys playing with a lighter." (Krystle Marcellus/Honolulu Star Advertiser)

From the Source:

"'People don’t typically think of wildfire as a frequent disturbance on tropical islands,' said Trauernicht in a UH release Friday.

But between 2005 and 2011, there were about 1,007 wildfires statewide that burned an average of about 20,000 acres, the researchers found.

A 108-year history showed a more-than-fourfold increase in acreage burned annually statewide, they found."

"'Oahu is off the charts,' he said, adding that Maui averaged about 200 wildfires annually."

"Observers say in Hawaii, more homes being built near open brush land sometimes force firefighters to place themselves dangerously between the fires and houses."