El Nino

As Dry Summer Season Nears, A Community is Working to Prevent Wildfires

Team Rubicon volunteers out in full force to help create a firebreak. Credit: Hawaii News Now

Team Rubicon volunteers out in full force to help create a firebreak. Credit: Hawaii News Now

As a very fitting tribute to Memorial Day, a collaboration of people including military veterans from Team Rubicon, an international veteran service organization that uses disaster response to help reintegrate veterans back into civilian life, came out in full force to create a large firebreak around Kamilonui-Mariner’s Cove. The Firewise Community (the first ever on Oahu as of 2018!) of agricultural and residential lots in Hawaii Kai, has been working with HWMO for a couple of years now in an effort to create a more wildfire resilient community.

This weekend, as part of Wildfire Preparedness Day, we are seeing what it means to be fire-adapted: everyone playing a role to reduce wildfire risk. The Firewise committee consisting of local residents and farmers, Aloha Aina O Kamilo Nui, and Livable Hawaii Kai Hui organized the work days; Team Rubicon volunteers are knocking back fire fuels; neighboring landowners provided access to the land and green waste hauling services; residents are feeding volunteers; and HWMO provided a hazard assessment, continual guidance through the Firewise Communities process, and a $2,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service. We are so grateful to everyone who is helping out to make Kamilonui - Mariner’s Cove a model for community-driven wildfire protection on Oahu and for the rest of the Hawaiian Islands!

From the Source:

This Memorial Day weekend, hard-working volunteers are helping out homeowners worried about the threat of wildfires. They started creating a new firebreak on Saturday near Mariner’s Cove.

With the help of a hazard assessment from the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, the community came up with an action plan.

With moderate drought conditions across the state, wildfire experts are concerned about this summer.

“During those El Nino periods, we actually see significant increases in wildfire ignitions, but also in the amount of area that burns so we’re defintiely very worried this summer,” said Pablo Beimler, Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization’s community outreach coordinator.

“It’s like black and white, like a swarm of bees come in here and sort of take over, start in five different spots and just continue on down. It’s really amazing,” said homeowner Dick Johnson.

Roads Closed in Kapolei as Firefighters Battle Brush Fire Near Renton Road

Traffic camera view of the wildfire. Credit: Hawaii News Now

Traffic camera view of the wildfire. Credit: Hawaii News Now

El Nino fire season is kicking into full gear. Be #WildfireReadyHI

From the Source:

Police officers have closed several roads in the vicinity of the intersection of Renton Road and Kapolei Parkway as firefighters battle a brush fire in the area.

The flames were first reported just after 11:30 a.m. Friday morning.

El Nino Conditions Played a Part In the Raging Brush Fires Over the Weekend

Credit: KITV4 News

Credit: KITV4 News

El Nino means more wildfires. More wildfires means more impacts. We must all be ready for a busy fire year. Check out Wildfire LOOKOUT for wildfire prevention and preparedness resources at your fingertips.

From the Source:

"With El Niño comes drought usually and so that dries out all the vegetation and we can get an out of season active period in terms of brush fires,"  Kevin Kodama, hydrologist, National Weather Service, said. "For the Leeward areas, you're really getting out of a chance of any sort of meaningful rainfall for that side of the island anyway. It's the driest time of the year."

"The big risk factors are sort of all of these unused former agricultural lands but all this grass," Clay Trauernicht, wildland fire specialist, University of Hawaii, said. 

"It should allow folks in those communities to start to get ready and realize the threat is there and they can do something about it now to minimize the impact,"  Captain Scot Seguirant, HFD, said. 

To help prevent wildfires, Seguirant recommends residents cut their brush and vegetation to at least 30 feet away from their homes. 

El Nino Impacts Likely Through Winter, Into Spring - Higher Potential for Large Wildfires in Hawaii

“A Hawaii County firefighter monitors a brush fire.” (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

“A Hawaii County firefighter monitors a brush fire.” (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

El Nino means a higher potential for large fires throughout much of Hawaii. Be prepared by going through the Ready Set Go! Action Guide and WildfireLOOKOUT! materials — there are many ways to get involved and Take Action.

From the Source:

El Nino has more than one impact on water. It doesn’t just heat it up, it changes how much falls from the sky and when.

Matthew Foster, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Honolulu, said NWS has forecast a 90 percent chance of El Nino in the winter and a 60 percent chance it persists into the spring.

According to North Ops Predictive Services, rainfall totals are projected below normal levels from December through the spring months assuming an El Nino takes hold and hangs around.

Because of this, and despite rainfall through last summer and fall that left green grass crop in several areas across the state, large fire potential is expected to increase to above normal levels from January to March.

“December was still neutral conditions,” Foster said, “(But) it would be expected drier than normal over the next few months.”

New Year’s Eve and Day were jointly characterized by three separate blazes in West Hawaii alone, two in the area of Waikoloa Village and one above Hawaiian Homes in Kawaihae.

Wildland Fire Danger Elevated in Hawaii with Drought in Forecast

Hualalai and Puu Anahulu Fuels.JPG

From the Source:

For Hawaii, El Nino often translates into summer moisture followed by winter drought.

Drought conditions will be increasingly prevalent in the coming decades, said Clay Trauernicht, UH-Manoa wildland fire specialist and author of a study that examined how climate change will affect wildfires in Hawaii and tropical areas around the world.

The paper, published in Science of the Total Environment, not only discusses the effects of climate change on fire, but demonstrates how tracking rainfall patterns year to year can help better forecast near-term wildfire risk, including the danger that excess rainfall in advance of drought can pose to Hawaii’s vulnerable grasslands.

As for the current fire danger, Trauernicht said environmental conditions are quite similar right now to the period right before August, when a string of storms built up the fuel load and the drying islands were struck by a rash of wildland fires that burned nearly 30,000 acres.



Elizabeth Pickett, executive director of the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, said most people don’t realize the scale of Hawaii’s wildfire problem. Each year about 0.5 percent of Hawaii’s total land area burns, which is equal to or greater than the proportion burned of any other U.S. state, she said.

Pickett said 98 percent of wildfires are started by humans, most of them accidentally. People have to accept that we live in a fire-prone state and be extra careful to prevent fires, she said.

One common way to start a wildfire is from a spark or hot components of a motor vehicle. It’s the primary reason why Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park closed Mauna Loa Road.

“By reducing the number of vehicles in high-risk areas, the park can mitigate the potential for a catastrophic event,” the park said.

Pickett said there are a number of simple things folks can do: Park cars on pavement and never on dry grass. Keep yards maintained and free of debris. Be careful with equipment that could spark. Practice family emergency plans.

More tips can be found at HawaiiWildfire.org/lookout.

Drought in West Hawaii Increases Risk of Wildfires Running Rampant Already

"North Kona, seen from the Highway 190 scenic lookout, is brown and dry from the ongoing drought." (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

"North Kona, seen from the Highway 190 scenic lookout, is brown and dry from the ongoing drought." (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

Did you know 99 percent of wildfires in Hawaii are started by people? This West Hawaii Today article written by reporter Max Dible, explores the effects of drought on wildfire. 

Check out HawaiiWildfire.org/lookout for tips on what you can do to help protect your home and family from wildfire.

From the Source:

Tamara Hynd, program and operations assistant with the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, said wildfires have already burned through roughly 34,000 acres across the state, more than double the yearly average of 17,000 with more than four months of a dry year yet to go.

“Drought always plays a factor because the longer it goes on, the more intense it gets,” she said. “Your larger fuels begin to dry out more and more.”

Some advice she offered to mitigate risk is to avoid parking on dry grass because heat from exhaust systems can ignite it, or to keep heavy machinery like welding equipment and weed whackers away from dry areas, as such work can result in sparks that start fires.

Hynd said it was repair to heavy equipment that was the catalyst for the wildfire that ignited in Volcano earlier this month.

People who keep their grass short, their rain gutters free of debris and who have a water source and/or fire extinguisher on hand are also less likely to cause accidental wildfires, she said.

As Peat Bogs Burn, A Climate Threat Rises

"A peat sample showing the history of wildfires dating back hundreds of years. Scientists can trace the history of wildfires to better understand how the peat land acts as a carbon sink." (Ed Ou/New York Times)

Did you know that peatlands make up about 3 percent of the earth's land surface, but contain more carbon cumulatively than all of our trees and plants on this Earth? Can you imagine if these areas go up in flames? Check out this very interesting New York Times piece about the effect climate change is having on our peatlands and the potential for a shockingly immense amount of carbon release. 

From the Source:

“They take thousands of years to develop,” said Merritt Turetsky, a peat researcher at the University of Guelph in Ontario. “And in five minutes, a wildfire can blow through that area and release five to six hundred years of peat accumulation and change it forever.”

“Drier peat allows more oxygen to get to the roots of trees and other vegetation. This causes them to grow bigger, which means they use more water, further drying the peat.

As trees grow, they also provide more shade, which favors the growth of other mosses that, because they hold less moisture than sphagnum, are less fire resistant.

When the bog does catch fire, it may be more severe, with the combustion spreading deeper into the peat.”

Olowalu Fire Near Puamana Beach Park Burns 1300 Acres

Credit: Maui Fire Department

It was only a week ago when a 4,700 acre fire burned through Maalaea in West Maui threatening homes and causing massive traffic jams. Another large fire is burning in the Olowalu-Ukumehame area, totaling over 1,300 acres. Only a month or so ago, HWMO, Maui Electric Company, and DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife collaborated on a project to create fuelbreaks along powerlines on the mauka side of Ukumehame.

From the Source:

"Maui police evacuated two homes Friday night as a precaution, and residents returned hours later. MFD says that the homes are not in immediate danger at this time, and no homes have been damaged.

Honoapiilani Highway was closed for a short time, but it remains opens Saturday. Firefighters say they do not anticipate any more road closures."

Watch Out for Wildfires

Currently there are several updates to Community Wildfire Protection Plans in the works, as well as new plans being developed.

Mahalo to The Garden Island for the nice feature on the wildfire situation in Kauai and the Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) that HWMO has been working.

From the Source:

“Don’t be fooled by the rain we might get and think we’re off the hook,” said Elizabeth Pickett, executive director of Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, a nonprofit that’s dedicated to spreading wildfire education. “Rain makes more vegetation grow, that dries out and then there’s more fuel for wildfire.”

Pablo Beimler, HWMO coordinator, said with the extensive drought period the state experienced earlier this year, and the EL Nino phenomenon that’s in effect “could spell trouble in the number of ignitions and the sizes.”

In preparation for that dry summer, HWMO has been working on six Community Wildfire Protection Plans, which outline the wildfire hazard sand issues each specific community faces, the organizations and entitles that have a stake in wildfire management, and how they can work together to minimize the number and sizes of wildfires this season.

Maalaea Fire Burns 4700 Acres Pushed by High Winds

Maalaea Fire smoke seen from Kihei. Credit: Asa Ellison/Hawaii News Now

Maalaea glows at night from the intense fire. Credit: Catie Koraleski/Facebook

Honoapiilani Highway and North Kihei Road were closed down numerous times due to a fierce battle with a 4,700 acre brush fire in Maalaea on West Maui. The area has an extensive history of wildfires and has prompted countless road closures and evacuations. Maui County officials at one point urged "those in Lahaina to plan on eating dinner there before braving the gridlocked traffic to Central Maui."

Mobile office trailers and some construction vehicles were damaged during the fire and power lines were scorched leaving many without power. 

Shelters were opened for 100s of people needing a place to clamp down for the night. 

First responders rescued a group of hikers who were trapped up mauka.

Wildfire season is coming on strong. There are a number of ways to be prepared. Head over to the Wildfire & Drought Look Out! homepage for more.

From the Source:

"There were some construction vehicles and mobile office trailers that sustained damages from the fire but no monetary damage estimates are available. Communication utility lines near Maalaea Harbor appear to have been damaged by flames when the fire raced through the area by strong winds. No homes were damaged." - Maui Watch

"The Maui Fire Department would like to thank the public for their patience Saturday, while the road closures were in effect. Safety of the public and for firefighters working on the fire scene is always our top priority." - Maui Watch

"Maalaea Fire 2016 - Over 400 people waited out the road closures at War Memorial and another 75 or so at Lahaina Civic Center." Credit: Marc Nishimoto/Maui Civil Defense

"The Hawaii Red Cross, along with Maui Civil Defense, opened up two shelters at the Maui War Memorial and the Lahaina Civic Center at 6 p.m. Saturday. While both shelters were closed at 7 a.m. Sunday, they are standing by if they need to reopen later in the day.

"Of those that stayed in the shelters overnight, a great majority of them were tourists. There were a total of 472 people in the Maui War Memorial shelter and 150 in the Lahaina Civic Center shelter." - KHON2

"We had Polynesian tours and Roberts Hawaii buses literally dropping off people by the bus load. It was a bit hectic, definitely, at the shelters last night," Michele Liberty, the Red Cross Maui County director, said. - Hawaii News Now

"Kayla Delos Santos, who was traveling with family members from Lahaina to Kahului, said “it was in a grassy area on the left, a dry area, and it was a long, straight line of fire. I can say it was about two to three miles.” - KHON2

Road closures led traffic to a halt. Credit: KK Blogs/Twitter

The mauka side of the highway is mostly grassland. Witnesses say horses that normally graze in the field were moved to safety." - KHON2

"I lost all cell phone communication during this time so I really didn't know what was going on," she said. "After 4.5 hours of sitting in traffic I finally turned my car around and go the opposite direction around Wailuku and that traffic was even worse. It was an absolute nightmare." - Hawaii News Now

Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa was caught up in the traffic Saturday and said events like this shows West Maui needs more alternative roads.

"Last nights brush fire was a perfect example of why we need an alternate route to and from West Maui. Our residents and visitors can be cut off at any time due to a brush fire, rock slide or even a bad traffic accident," Arakawa said. "I urge our state delegates, governor and lieutenant governor to do another environmental impact study that looks at every alternative to creating another West Maui route."

Arakawa added: "These events that cut off Lahaina from the rest of the island are happening all too often and we need to look for other solutions." - Hawaii News Now

30 Acre Ukumehame Fire Started Near Homeless Encampment

Credit: Timothy Lara.

A home is a home, regardless of who lives in it or what the situation is. That's how firefighters in Maui approached the latest 30 acre fire in Ukumehame. Firefighters worked to save makeshift shelters in a homeless encampment even with high winds and difficult access. Although the fire destroyed at least one encampment, a few were saved, no injuries were reported and no homes in neighboring subdivisions were threatened. Mahalo as always to our firefighters!

From the Source:

"An area resident reported hearing a loud explosion just before flames were seen erupting from an open field just north of Pohaku Aeko Street and mauka of Honoapiʻilani Highway. Winds quickly spread the fire makai towards Honoapiʻilani Highway, which forced a brief shutdown of all vehicle traffic for about 30 minutes."

"Fire investigators were not able to determine the exact cause of the fire, but believe that it started near a group of homeless encampments discovered in the brush. One encampment was overrun by the flames and was destroyed, but two other makeshift shelters were saved by fire crews. No homes in the subdivision were threatened and no injuries were reported."

Brush Fire in Makawao Scorches 200 Acres of Land

Credit: Maui Fire Department

Glad to hear all are safe after a very close call with a wildfire in Makawao on Thursday. There are a number of ways to ensure your home is better protected from wildfires. Visit the Wildfire & Drought Look Out! page for details.

From the Source:

"Maui firefighters are concluding operations on a brush fire on Thursday in a gulch near the Kamehameha Schools' Maui campus that officials say has burned about 200 acres."

"Strong winds of up to 25 mile an hour spread the flames quickly but officials say the pineapples and sugar cane fields have helped to slow the fire.

Officials say the fire came within 30 feet of homes within the area, and that evacuations were ordered for a short time. Residents have been returned to their homes."

Region Ripe for Possibly Worst Wildfire Season in Southern California: Officials

"Embers burn as firefighters approach a brush fire in the foothills outside of Calabasas, Calif. on Saturday, June 4, 2016. A fast-moving brush fire sweeping through hills northwest of downtown Los Angeles has damaged homes and prompted neighborhood evacuations. Los Angeles County fire officials now say the brushfire is threatening about 3,000 homes in the Calabasas neighborhood." Credit: AP

Even with the recent rains, Hawaii is not out of the woods, yet. Most of the leeward areas are still classified as being in a drought and potentially rain could let up during the summer. 

California is dealing with a drought of their own, and it may not be looking good for Southern California, especially. As with Hawaii, they received periodic rains from El Nino that spurred quick growth of grass and brush, but once they dry out, they can quickly become a fire hazard.

From the Source:

“‘We've seen a big change in our brush growth this year,’ he said. ‘So some of our annual crops, our grass, are a lot higher than they previously have been. We do still have some of our dead trees in the local mountains that will create problems for us, so we're expecting, as you have heard before, one of the worst fire seasons ever.’”

“Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief Daryl Osby said El Nino brought just enough rain to fuel the growth of grass and brush that can drive fires during the dry summer months.”

“‘It is only a matter of time, so the time to begin to prepare is now,’ he said. ‘Despite the cool, foggy weather that we're under this morning, it will not last, and the Santa Ana winds will be upon us before we know it. Residents must be prepared for the inevitable wildfires, because it is part of living in this beautiful state.’”

“Fire officials urged residents to act now to clear brush from around their homes, creating a defensible space that can help stop or slow the spread of wildfires. Moore said residents living in wildfire-prone areas need to create a plan for evacuating if a blaze threatens their home.”

Brush Fire Covers 393 Acres Near Waikii Ranch

"An Army UH-60 Blackhawk drops water on a fire near Waikii Ranch on Monday afternoon. The crew came from the medevac team." (Graham Milldrum / West Hawaii Today)

Creating a buffer-zone doesn't just have to stop around your home - a community-wide fuelbreak can be the difference between a destructive fire or not. Firefighters primarily from U.S. Army Pohakuloa Training Area were able to keep a 393-acre fire in the northern portion of Waikii on Hawaii Island from getting close to homes in the area in large part due to pre-fire fuels management. 

From the Source:

"Firefighters managed to keep it away from the homes in large part because a crew at the Waikii Ranch keeps the buffer zone largely clear of material, said Captain Steve Colona of the Pohakuloa Training Area’s Fire and Emergency Services."

"Then things changed.

'Well, the wind didn’t cooperate,' said Hawaii Fire Department Battalion Chief Ty Medeiros.

It moved to the south and expanded the blaze, he said, which broke the fire’s containment although the area threatened has no structures in it.

The 20-mph winds not only directed the fire, they complicated the efforts of the two helicopters dropping water. One came from the county, and the other from the medevac unit stationed at the base."

Electrical Arc Suspected of Starting Maalaea Brush Fires

Post-fire next to powerlines from a previous wildfire in Maalaea in February 2016. Credit - HWMO

A common ignition source in West Maui is electrical arcing along powerlines. We are happy to say we are teaming up with MECO and Hawaii DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife on a project to clear hazardous vegetation from the powerlines. HWMO's $5,000 grant for fuels reduction along powerlines in the West Maui mauka area will be matched by MECO to help prevent wildfire ignitions.

From the Source:

"A passing motorist reported seeing a bright flash near the landfill and electrical transmission lines. Fire officials say the witness then saw a blue colored light travel quickly along the transmission line, across the highway, and up the West Maui Mountain.

Another flash of light was seen on the hillside and a short time later the brush fire was seen starting up."

Firefighters Contain Brush Fire Along Waialae Nui Ridge

“Because of drought conditions, so far this year over 10,000 acres have already burned from brush fires — twice the number of acres burned during all of 2015.”

Firefighters are thus working as hard as ever to protect communities from dangerous wildfires, including this fire in Kahala that burned close to homes on a steep ridge. A rogue drone was flown in the operation area, prompting HFD and police to call on the drone operator to land. "Having a drone in the air just isn't safe" for firefighters. Please refrain from using drones in areas where firefighters are fighting a blaze. A GoPro video is not worth risking the safety of our firefighters. Please share this message.

From the Source:

“’I thought the fire was going the other way, but it came as close as my property line,’ said Waialae Nui resident Edwin Motoshige. ‘Firemen were here so thankfully, yeah, it was okay.’

‘During our operations, some of our firefighters noticed a drone in the air kind of hovering around right where we were working in our operational areas,’ he said.

Once HFD found the drone’s operator, police were called and the drone was forced to land. With Air One overhead and crews on the ground, Mejia said having a drone in the air just isn’t safe.

‘Sometimes it gets too close in the way of what we’re trying to do and if there’s a failure of the drone, who knows what could happen,’ he said.”

Organizations Kick Off Wildfire and Drought Look Out! Campaign

Credit - Molly Solomon/HPR

HWMO and its partners statewide worked together to launch Wildfire & Drought Look Out!, Hawaii's first coordinated statewide wildfire outreach campaign. Here are a number of news clippings from TV, radio, and newspaper sources and the links to each source.

 

KHON2:

“‘I have been preparing for it for years now,’ said Momoa. ‘Ever since I moved in there, I could see the vision that it was going to burn soon.’”

Big Island Now:

“‘We have set up both a public and a media page on the HWMO website. The public page will have loads of information for home and property owners on how best to prepare for the possibility of wildfire well in advance,’ said HWMO Executive Director Elizabeth Pickett. ‘We’ll include water saving information which is really topical during this prolonged drought event in many areas across the state, largely caused by El Nino weather conditions.’

HWMO will also maintain and manage a media page, where partners can contribute story ideas and leads for reporters and their news organizations.”

Maui News:

“Prevention suggestions include:

* Clearing combustible materials near homes and lanais.

* Keeping grass short and tree branches off of the ground.

* Creating a defensible space at least 100 feet around a home.

* Removing leaves and debris from gutters and roofs.

* Covering eaves and vents with -inch mesh.

* Creating and practicing a family evacuation plan.”

HPR:

“With an above-average fire season ahead, state officials stress a need for public awareness. Hawai‘i Wildfire Management Organization is a nonprofit that’s working with federal, state and local agencies to kick start a campaign to provide information and tips for homeowners. More information can be found on their website, hawaiiwildfire.org.”

Honolulu Civil Beat:

More than 60 percent of the state is experiencing moderate drought conditions, and parts of the Big Island are facing extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Credit - Clay Trauernicht

“We hope this campaign, which has both a public and a media component, will educate and inform everyone living in and visiting Hawaii about the year-around threat of wildfires,” DLNR Director Suzanne Case said in a release.

Hookele News:

“The campaign seeks to educate homeowners and communities and empower them to take proactive steps that reduce the chances of wildfire ignition and create safer conditions for our firefighters.”

 

Hawaii Faces Increased Wildfire Risk This Summer

Nationally, Hawaii is on the map this year (along with Alaska and the Southwest) as being an area of "increased danger for significant wildland fires from May through August" according to a new report from the National Interagency Fire Center.

Our partners Clay Trauernicht, from University of Hawaii CTAHR Cooperative Extension, and Captain David Jenkins, from Honolulu Fire Department, do a great job in this Hawaii News Now report to explain the current drought and wildfire situation and what that means for Hawaii visitors and residents.  Stay tuned for the statewide wildfire prevention and preparedness campaign set to launch real soon!

From the Source:

'We've sort of been tracking the progression of the drought, so we're pretty well aware that we're facing an above-average fire season for the summer,' said Clay Trauernicht, a wildfire specialist with the University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension.

'We're seeing reports of El Nino subsiding, but what that means for us is, it's sort of leading us right into our summertime dry season. So even though it's going to look like a normal summer, we have this big rainfall deficit from the wintertime,' Trauernicht said.

Several agencies are working together and will soon be launching a new wildfire prevention and preparedness campaign to help keep communities safe.

'There's a lot of things you can do both to prevent fires from starting, as well as reducing fire risks around your homes,' Trauernicht said."

Worsening Drought Signals Wildfire Stricken Summer

Credit: KITV4

El Nino may be weakening, but that doesn't mean its effects are...in fact, we haven't realized the full impact of its effects just yet. Hawaii's current drought is expected to worsen which means a higher potential for more wildfires. May is Wildfire Preparedness Month. Learn how you can take action today!

From the Source:

"Although those dry conditions from El Nino are weakening, a drought-stricken Summer is right around the corner. 

'This year we're well ahead of schedule for how dry we are,' said Ian Morrison, Meteorologist for the National Weather Service. 'We're about three months ahead of where we would normally be. So we're about to reach a threshold in Hawai'i where normally we wouldn't hit that threshold until July.' 

That dryness translates to parched vegetation, a wildfires food of choice. 

'Most of the fuels are going to be very dry on the Leeward side,' Morrison added. 'So they're going to be much easier to start fires, and much easier  to maintain fires.'"

"Though there is hope for more rain next Winter, it falls on the responsibility of everyone to help keep brush and wildfires to a minimum this season."

Fire Scorches Vacant Land Near Hualalai Elderly Housing

Credit - West Hawaii Today

Credit - West Hawaii Today

Wildfire solutions are not always easy to find. One of the more complex issues are campfire starts from homeless, a common occurrence in Kailua-Kona. What's important is that to find solutions, we need to ensure that these complex issues are addressed with all stakeholders at the table. Collaboration is the only way to get to the heart of wicked problems like these.

Mahalo to firefighters for keeping Kona residents safe!

From the Source:

"Capt. Gifford Matsuoka said a southwest wind helped to keep the fire from spreading into more vacant land to the south and blew the brunt of the smoke away from the housing complex.

That wasn’t the case in 2012, when smoke from a similar fire forced the evacuation of the complex. Smaller fires have occurred sporadically in the area since then.

'Round three. This is the third time since I’ve been here,' said resident Larry Johnson, watching the scene unfold to the west.

Residents were quick to blame the fire on the homeless camping on the vacant land. Firefighters said the cause hasn’t been determined but listed homeless campfires as a possible cause."