Oahu

Firefighters Battle Multiple Fires Across O'ahu Monday

Oahu brushfires this Monday are a reminder that the dry season is underway, and the risks of wildfires are real.

From the Source:

A total of seven fire units responded to the brush fire near Kamehameha Highway and Paalaa Uka Pupukea Road.

At least four brush fires were reported in a three-hour period Monday afternoon.

40 Acre Wahiawa Brush Fire Contained After Reigniting

Credit: Star Advertiser

Credit: Star Advertiser

Just because a fire is contained, does not mean it can’t reignite. Always be vigilant of your surroundings.

From the Source:

A 40-acre brush fire in Wahiawa that reignited Saturday was called contained at 4 p.m. today, but some smoldering continued inside the perimeter.

The fire was found in the same area as a 525-acre blaze that started May 19 and was contained on Wednesday.

A change in wind direction Saturday may have set off the latest fire, according to Honolulu Fire Department officials.



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.

Firefighters Struggle to Contain Large Wahiawa Fire Along Kaukonahua Road

Wahiawa Fire. Credit: KITV4

Wahiawa Fire. Credit: KITV4

From the Source:

Honolulu firefighters are working to contain a growing brush fire that has scorched roughly 375 acres in Wahiawa.

One driver reported seeing thick smoke in the area.

“I was coming down Kaukonahua Road and it was just completely smoke. You could see it coming from Wahiawa. But as you got further down, you could see it -- like plumes of smoke coming up,” Cora Pierce said as she watched the smoke billow.

HFD said windy conditions, accessibility and steep terrain have been major challenges.

Brush Fire Above Diamond Head Road Started at Homeless Camp

Credit: Hawaii News Now

Credit: Hawaii News Now

From the Source:

Honolulu firefighters extinguished a small brush fire on the mountain above Diamond Head Road early Monday.

According to HFD, the fire broke out around 2:15 a.m. near Leahi Beach Park.

HFD Responds to Five Brush Fire Calls in One Day on Oahu

Credit: KHON2

Credit: KHON2

"I would say that generally it's a little early in the season. But when you have the growth with the rain that we've had, as long as it's there. It's ready to burn," said Scot Seguirant, HFD.

Now is the time to prepare. Check out Wildfire LOOKOUT! for tips and tricks on preventing and preparing for wildfire.

From the Source:

Additional ways you can prevent these kinds of fire include only lighting matches or other kindling when there aren't windy conditions, and being aware of where you throw lighted cigarettes. Having a shovel, water and fire retardent in your yard for use can also be useful when a fire comes near your home. Finally you can protect your home and family by simply being aware of what may cause accidental fires and limiting risk factors such as a lighted barbeque pit or campfire.

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. 

500 Acre Brush Fire Behind Nanakuli Sack N Save 100% Contained

Fire behind Sack N Save in Nanakuli. Credit: KITV4

Fire behind Sack N Save in Nanakuli. Credit: KITV4

From the Source:

Honolulu firefighters say a West Oahu brush fire that burned since pre-dawn on Sunday is 100 percent contained. The fire department says 500 acres burned, and hot spots and smoke are coming from burned areas. 

HFD says strong gusty wind conditions, accessibility, and terrain are challenging fire fighters efforts. In Nanakuli, the fire came as close as 100 feet to some homes.

HFD says the fire originated in Nanakuli Valley and branched off into Waianae Valley. Throughout the day, it was an active fire that firefighters battled on multiple fronts, and with the help of the federal fire department.  



750 Trees Find New Homes in the Mountains of Waianae

“Dozens of volunteers got down and dirty to plant roughly 750 trees on Oahu’s west side.” Credit: DLNR.

“Dozens of volunteers got down and dirty to plant roughly 750 trees on Oahu’s west side.” Credit: DLNR.

Important work being done by our partners from the Waianae Mountains Watershed Partnership and DLNR to reforest Waianae Kai State Forest Reserve, which will create a more resilient landscape and reduce the wildfire risk in the area. If you want to get involved with the planting events, you’re asked to contact coordinator Yumi Miyata at (808) 227-9545, or wmwpcoordinator@gmail.com.

From the Source:

“The Enterprise Urban Tree Initiative brings our employees together to volunteer in communities like Waianae that have been devastated by natural disasters, such as wildfires,” said Chris Sbarbaro, Enterprise Hawaii Vice President of External Affairs. “We support the Arbor Day Foundation and its partners in their efforts to build strong communities from the ground up and create a sustainable and inclusive future for all.”

The need to restore Oahu’s west side comes as a dry spell started to hit Nanakuli, and is likely to move toward Waianae during the normally hot and dry summer months.

“Unfortunately, wildfires have become more frequent in Waianae. The cycle of infrequent, heavy rain followed by dry, hot and windy weather creates the perfect conditions for fast-moving, intense fire. A recent fire in August 2018 burned more than 1,500 acres of the forest reserve, threatening native forests important for water recharge,” said Yumi Miyata, Waiʻanae Mountains Watershed Partnership Coordinator and Chair of Hawaii Association of Watershed Partnerships.

Strong Winds Challenge HFD During Small Sand Island Wildfire

Sand Island fire on March 9. Credit: Hawaii News Now

Sand Island fire on March 9. Credit: Hawaii News Now

Strong winds fueled a wildland fire near Sand Island Saturday.

The fire was reported just before 1:40 p.m. Smoke was visible from the nearby highway.

HFD says about 18 fire personnel responded to the incident and began battling the flames.

“Strong gusty wind conditions challenged fire fighters efforts,” HFD said in a news release.

The fire reportedly started in an empty lot known to be frequented by homeless, HFD said.

Police Identify Suspect Arrested in Connection with Maili Wildfires in West Oahu

Footage from Senator Maile Shimabukuro broadcasted on Hawaii News Now.

Footage from Senator Maile Shimabukuro broadcasted on Hawaii News Now.

Although 75% of wildfires are deemed accidental and thus easily preventable in Hawaii, according to researcher Dr. Clay Trauernicht of UH CTAHR Cooperative Extension, we also have a challenging arson issue. It’s rare for authorities to catch arsonists and even more difficult to prosecute arsonists. In this Maili fire, a suspect was found at the scene of one of four wildfires along Farrington Highway in Maili. Thankfully no one was hurt and no homes were lost, but an investigation is underway.

From the Source:

The dramatic afternoon has Senator Shimabukuro renewing her push for a million dollars in grant money to help fight West Oahu wildfires.

“Fires have been terrorizing our community my whole life," she said. “Every summer, our mountains are on fire. I really hope that this million dollars that the community is requesting for the Waianae Kai Wildfire Preparedness Plan can be granted by the legislature."

Four Acre Alan Davis Beach Fire in East Oahu Extinguished

“Firefighters working to put out a brush fire on Oahu’s east side.” Credit: Hawaii News Now

“Firefighters working to put out a brush fire on Oahu’s east side.” Credit: Hawaii News Now

The area of the fire is known for remnant native trees and plants that are a vibrant sight to see in Kaiwi. You can volunteer to be a part of the restoration efforts of this remarkable coastline here: http://kaiwicoast.org/volunteer.htm



From the Source:

Honolulu firefighters responded to a brush fire near Alan Davis Beach on Saturday.

Due to muddy off road conditions, crews were unable to access the fire with fire trucks.

“Personnel hiked in and initiated a ground fire attack in coordination with water drops from Air 1,” Fire Capt. Scot Seguirant said in a press release. “The Honolulu Police Department assisted with stopping beach goers from entering the burn area while they hiked to the beach from the lighthouse parking lot.”

Firefighters Extinguish Fire Near Makai Research Pier

Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 8.30.00 AM.png

From the Source:

Firefighters put out a small fire this afternoon at the site of an occasional homeless camp on the ocean side of Kalanianaole Highway near Makai Research Pier.

Capt. Scot Seguirant of the Honolulu Fire Department said the alarm sounded at 12:39 p.m., a fire truck arrived at 12:46 p.m. and the blaze was extinguished by 1:04 p.m. It covered about 12 feet by 12 feet of land, he said.

“It was on the ocean side of the road, right after the pier and before the homes,” he said. “There’s like a now-and-then homeless camp in that area. That’s what actually burned. The brush didn’t really catch at all.”

Firefighters Extinguish Brush Fire on Diamond Head Near the Main Lookout

Firefighters doused a brush fire on Diamond Head. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

Firefighters doused a brush fire on Diamond Head. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

From the Source:

Firefighters have extinguished a blaze that scorched around one acre of brush on Diamond Head on Tuesday.

The fire started around noon near homeless camps above the main lookout.

A Warming Planet Could Trigger More Intense Wildfire Season in Hawaii

Credit: National Park Service

Credit: National Park Service

Over the last several years, HWMO has prioritized adaptive measures such as Firewise Communities and strategic, cross-boundary vegetation management planning to ready areas for the rapidly changing conditions causing more and larger wildfires in Hawaii. The gravity of the situation is real with climate change, but there is so much we can do in our own communities to prepare for wildfires and other climate hazards. Learn how by visiting our Take Action page and the Wildfire Lookout! page.

Check out this excellent article with some of our close partners, including Dr. Clay Trauernicht and Michael Walker, who were interviewed and data that HWMO was instrumental in laying the groundwork for — the statewide wildfire history database we produced with our fire agency partners. Although sobering, it is great to see this data put to use for a better understanding of how climate change affects Hawaii locally.


From the Source:

In Hawaii, wildfires generally ignite during the dry season, typically between May and November, when it's hotter, drier and windier outside.

But models show that the drier leeward areas, where fires are more frequent, will see even less rainfall as a result of climate change, exacerbating drought conditions and expanding the length of Hawaii's dry season.

That means more favorable conditions for brush fires to ignite.

And non-native grasslands and shrubs — which cover nearly a fourth of Hawaii's total land area — are highly adapted to fire, meaning they thrive when they burn and come back really quickly, researchers say. And the drier it is, the harder it is for forests to recover in those spots.

Hotter days could spell longer-lasting brush fires, meaning more hours for firefighters and greater potential for damage to infrastructure.

And it's only going to get hotter. A regional NOAA report estimates that in Hawaii, temperatures are expected to rise by 4 to 5 degrees by 2085 — under a worst case emission scenario.

"If you have hotter days, the conditions that are going to promote your most active fires — like the hottest, windiest conditions — have the potential to last longer for hours within a span of a day," Trauernicht said, pointing to the Makaha fire that continued burning in the early evening, when temperatures are normally dropping and humidity levels usually go up.

Fire Is the One Hawaii Disaster We Can Avoid

The August 2018 wildfires in Waianae Valley. Credit: Clay Trauernicht

The August 2018 wildfires in Waianae Valley. Credit: Clay Trauernicht

An excellent article by Dr. Clay Trauernicht, wildland fire specialist of University of Hawaii CTAHR Cooperative Extension and Pacific Fire Exchange.

Not only does he explain why wildfires in Hawaii have burned 30,000 acres in August 2018, (more than double the annual average), but that it was predictable and there is much people can do to prevent wildfires. Dr. Trauernicht specifically sites the Wildfire LOOKOUT! tips for wildfire prevention.

To learn more about what you can do to protect your home and community from wildfire, visit HawaiiWildfire.org/lookout

From the Source:

Vegetation may be the most problematic issue facing fire management in Hawaii. Simply put, our communities and forests now exist amid an ocean of fire-prone grasslands and shrublands — about a million acres statewide. This is mostly a consequence of benign neglect as the value of real estate outweighs the value of maintaining production landscapes. Our agricultural and ranching footprint has declined by more than 60 percent across the state….

So what can we do about it? Awareness and education is the first step. Multiple state and county agencies and non-profits are working on this via the Hawaii Wildfire Lookout! Campaign, spearheaded by the Department of Land and Natural Resources and Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization. Fire prevention education can reduce accidental fires. Homes can be “hardened” to reduce the risk of loss. Communities can become “firewise” and organize to take actions such as increasing access for firefighters and reducing hazardous fuels near homes.

Vegetation is in some sense the simplest issue to tackle because it is the only fire hazard we can directly manage.  Yet it is also the most challenging due to the scale of the problem — the million acres of grasslands and shrublands across the state. There are multiple solutions for reducing risk in these fuels: fuel breaks, targeted grazing, prescribed fire, the restoration of agricultural and native ecosystems. There are also regulatory measures that can help such as firewise building and development codes.

Check out this letter to the editor from a former Firewise Co-Chair for Launiupoko, Ms. Linda Jenkins, who talks about their Firewise outreach efforts as a pathway forward.

”We completed assessments and provided all our neighbors with tips on how to make their homes and properties fire wise. An extensive public education campaign was conducted and we received our Firewise certification. We circulated tips on how to build a home and lay out a property to reduce fire risk. We also circulated tips on how to make your existing property and already built home safer.

This was successful in that many people made simple changes to their properties. I was also on the board at Makila and we maintained the sides of the bike path to create a fire break and kept our grass verges green.”

Brush Fire Near Kahe Power Plant Burnt Almost 300 Acres

Credit: KITV4

Credit: KITV4

A woman was treated for smoke inhalation. Flames got as close as 10 ft. to some homes in the Kahe Point area but no structure suffered damages. 

The fire was reportedly started by an arc from the power plant as a result of wire contact due to storm conditions. 

2018 Has Been a Wild Year for Wildfires, Far Surpassing Numbers Since 2015

"HFD keeps up with a busy season for brush fires in the summer months." Credit: Hawaii News Now

"HFD keeps up with a busy season for brush fires in the summer months." Credit: Hawaii News Now

2018 wildfire season has kept firefighters busy, scorched native forests, forced numerous evacuations, burned homes and businesses...and it is only August.

As Hurricane Lane approaches, threatening to add another impact to the list, post-fire flooding and landslides, we want to remind you that there is a lot you can do to protect your home and family from wildfires. Great tips provided by HPD, aligned with Wildfire LOOKOUT! info.

From the Source:

Combined, more than 30,000 acres total across Hawaii have been blackened by wildfires this year alone. That's compared to 2017 where nearly 7,700 acres were burned, according to the Pacific Fire Exchange's 2017 wildfire summary.

Capt. Seguirant says the easiest way to reduce the risk is by maintaining homes and yards in dry summer months, and keeping brush trimmed back. It's also important to clear porches, gutters and declutter outdoor spaces. 

"Just remove any wood piles, lumber, anything that can actually catch on fire," he said. "You want to make sure you put those things away. Trim back your fire break. Make sure there's 10 to 30 feet of cleared brush between your home."

Falling embers could land and could spark a fire, he said. While grilling outdoors, ensure proper safety precautions are in place and there is no dry brush around. Dispose of hot coal properly, in fire-safe bins provided at many county parks.

HFD also reminds everyone to have an emergency evacuation kit and a plan ready just in case wildfires threaten homes.

"Be ready to evacuate. Get your 'Go Bag.' When you get the call to quickly leave, at that point, belongings and material things can be replaced," Capt. Seguirant said. 

He says before evacuating, secure your home by locking doors and closing windows to prevent embers from entering the house, and possibly causing your home to go up in flames. 

Wahiawa Brush Fire Scorches 75 Acres of Land

The Wahiawa Fire could be seen from miles away. Credit: Savaughn Johnson

The Wahiawa Fire could be seen from miles away. Credit: Savaughn Johnson

From the Source:

Honolulu firefighters are investigating the cause of a Wahiawa brush fire that charred 75 acres of land on Whitmore Avenue Friday night.

Police shut down Kamehameha Highway from Dole Plantation to Whitmore Avenue as city and federal fire crews worked to douse the flames.

HFD officials believe the fire started on Saipan Road, which leads to a military installation. The area, which has a homeless encampment, is known for illegal dumping.