El Niño is having a particular impact on ranchers that may in turn impact fire behavior. Too much 'off and on' rainfall is creating grass that cattle have trouble digesting. A long period of drought during the winter won't help either.
"Rain may be good for farmers, but the sporadic 'off and on' downpours Maui has seen in the last two months have some ranchers on edge. Kaupo Ranch Manager Billy Ferreira said his cattle need to adjust to eating the green, moist grass. In the short term, the high moisture content of the 'washy feed' could upset the stomachs of cattle.
What concerns him most is that the heavy rains now means a drier winter later. Meteorologists say rain during the normally dry summer is likely the result of the El Nino effect that typically causes wetter-than-normal summers and drier winters. Ranchers like Ferreira worry a very dry winter could last until spring."