Oahu (East)

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.

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.

Brush Fire in Kalihi Burns 15 Acres

Kalihi Fire, April 7, 2019. Credit: KITV4

Kalihi Fire, April 7, 2019. Credit: KITV4

”Heavy stands of iron wood (Casuarina equisetifolia) on this ridge get thick carpets of leaf litter and duff - fire will just slow churn through that stuff for hours.” - Dr. Clay Trauernicht on the Kalihi fire.

From the Source:

A brush fire in Kalihi and Fort Shafter burns about 15 acres. The flames came close to the Kamehameha IV Apartments, but did not damage any Kalihi valley homes this afternoon. 

Smoke and flames were seen above Kalena Drive as the fire broke out around noon. Fire crews battled the flames on the hillside for nearly four hours before getting it under control.

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.

Mariner's Ridge Brush Fire Brought Under Control

Credit: KITV4

Credit: KITV4

Last year, a string of brushfires threatened communities in Kamilonui Valley and Mariner's Cove spurring them to work with HWMO on becoming one of the first Firewise Communities on Oahu. This year, they may see more fires like this one again, but a group of residents and community leaders are taking action to spread awareness and reduce the fire risk. On June 23, the Firewise committee in Kamilonui-Mariner's Cove will hold a work day to remove flammable vegetation from along bordering wildland areas. 

"Dodged a Bullet": Illegal Aerials Lit Up Much of Oahu On New Year's

Credit: Hawaii News Now

Credit: Hawaii News Now

Every year, fireworks pose a danger to safety due to injury and from fires, including brushfires. Thanks to vigilant neighbors, a little bit of luck, and hard-working first responders, the worst case scenario was averted. A brushfire did threaten homes in Hawaii Kai. HWMO is working closely with residents in Kamilonui-Mariner's Cove to help them become the first Firewise Community on Oahu. 

From the Source:

"We dodged a bullet," said Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Scot Seguirant, in a news conference on Monday.

"Last year was a bad year. This year has been better, but how many fires were not reported is another question. And then quick actions from neighbors, putting out fires ... is what really saved us this year."

"A brush fire in Hawaii Kai was put out quickly, but at one point, the flames were inching closer to homes at the top of a ridge."

City Says Improper Charcoal Dumping Burned Shower Tree

Credit: KITV

Credit: KITV

From the Source:

"The city Department of Parks and Recreation is asking the public to be more careful when using fire. It says the dumping of charcoals at the base of a shower tree at a Windward Oahu beach park and campground resulted the tree’s destruction last weekend."

"The Department of Parks and Recreation would like to take this opportunity to remind park users and campers to properly dispose of their charcoal, burnt wood, or other organic fire-fueling material in the designated charcoal disposal bins," urges the city via a press release.

"Disposing of these materials in regular trash cans, near trees, on other plant life, or on the beach, poses a safety and environmental hazard. The coals may appear to be extinguished but can be reignited. This is especially true if you bury used coals in the sand. The sand insulates the heat of the embers and can keep them hot for hours. This poses a severe safety hazard to other beachgoers who cannot see the danger just beneath the surface. In the past, this has resulted in significant injury."

Questions Raised Over Cause of Yet Another Brush Fire in Hawaii Kai

KHON2 video screen capture of Hawaii Kai brushfire.

KHON2 video screen capture of Hawaii Kai brushfire.

It has been a scary year for Hawaii Kai residents -- more than a dozen brushfires have burned in the area this year. HWMO is currently in discussions with stakeholders and community members in Hawaii Kai to begin the Firewise Communities certification process. Grassroots, community-based organizing will be a key to keeping residents, farmers, and others in the area safe from wildfires.  

From the Source:

"The location of the fire is in the area of Niumalu Loop, near the entrance of the valley, which was the scene of a recent rash of suspicious brush fires that have been plaguing the community throughout the year."

"The two-acre fire was contained just before 2:20 a.m., and officials have deemed the cause of the fire as undetermined, but remains under investigation."

HFD Suspects Arson in Recent String of Hawaii Kai Brush Fires

Credit: Blake Kinoshita / KFVE

Credit: Blake Kinoshita / KFVE

A recent string of brush fires in Hawaii Kai has been understandably making nearby residents nervous. HWMO will be taking part in two different community events on the week of June 5th to help address concerns and offer advice on next steps for community action. Mahalo to State Senator Stanley Chang and Representative Gene Ward for the invites to the meetings and for bringing attention to this growing issue.

From the Source:

"ʻWhat's being done in Hawaii Kai is totally unacceptable and we don't wish it on any community and that's why it's got to be stopped. It's gotta be stopped now,ʻ said state Rep. Gene Ward (R) Hawaii Kai.

Ward is organizing a June 6 town hall meeting where fire officials, police and wild fire experts will provide the public with the latest details on the fires.

'There are a lot of eyes and ears watching so whoever is doing this, they're going to get caught,' he said.

Large Kamilo Nui Valley Fire in Hawaii Kai

Wildfires in Hawaii Kai have been a cause for concern of late for residents -- this being another frightening wake-up call. Be prepared and have a plan by checking out the Wildfire Lookout! homepage.


From the Source:

"A brush fire deep in the Kamilo Nui Valley in Hawaii Kai has charred roughly 20 acres and continues to burn early Thursday, the Honolulu Fire Department said. "

"Nearby residents say this fire is the largest out of a string of recent fires in the area. 

'It's been going on for two months. There are small fires, but this one is the real biggest one,' resident Carolyn Kawano said. 'It's hard to say because I know there's like, homeless up there too. So they don't know who the culprit is.'

 

Brush Fire Flares Up Across From Sandy Beach

KHON2 Screen Capture

KHON2 Screen Capture

It may be surreal to watch as horses are led through sidewalks of paved streets in an urban neighborhood, but that was the reality on Saturday, February 4th when a couple wildfires in East Oahu filled neighborhoods with smoke (and burned to the edge of a home). If you have pets or livestock on a property, follow the step-by-step evacuation plan checklist on pages 15-16 of the Ready, Set, Go! Wildland Fire Action Guide.

Personal recreational drones complicated the firefight for Honolulu Fire Department. Please make sure to keep drones out of the air during wildfires as they are a safety hazard for helicopters. A trending YouTube video is not worth risking the lives and safety of our firefighters and communities.

From the Source:

"There were tense moments for homeowners, with one house just feet away from the scorched ground. Firefighters were stationed nearby to safeguard homes.

HFD Capt. David Jenkins said the fire quickly grew “with the winds being variable and blowing in different directions, causing some impact on the fire.”

The fire was called contained at approximately 3:45 p.m. No homes were damaged or directly threatened by the fire, and there were no evacuation of residents.

Jenkins did say that the fire did go up and into Koko Crater and the stables were evacuated. None of the horses were injured."

Kapolei and Koko Head Fires Prompt Road and Trail Closures

Credit: Branden Lohrey / Hawaii News Now

Credit: Branden Lohrey / Hawaii News Now

Wildfires can have impacts even on your favorite hiking and recreational destinations. You can help protect your favorite places by volunteering with groups that hold flammable/invasive vegetation removal days or if there is not a group already doing it, a great place to start is to group up with others who want to protect those areas.

From the Source:

“One fire closed lanes in Kapolei, while a separate fire shut down the Koko Head hiking trail and gun range.

Eastbound lanes on Farrington Highway were closed near Honokai hale and Kalaeloa due to a fire that broke out around noon Sunday. That fire has since been contained.

Traffic was slow-going as east bound lanes were rerouted. 

The Koko Head hike and gun range was also closed as firefighters battled a brush fire that also started around noon Sunday. 

Witnesses in the area say that police blocked the entrance to the popular trail and did not let anyone enter the hike.”

Diamond Head Brush Fire Burns 2 Acres

Credit: Iris Takahashi / special to Hawaii News Now

The highly-trafficked Diamond Head, one of Hawaii's most notable landmarks, was ablaze on Tuesday, March 29th. One witness mentioned her "surprise" about it. However, this will be more and more of a common scene, regardless of what area you live in, because of the current drought. Drought means a higher wildfire risk! Stay vigilant of your surroundings and the changing conditions around you. 

From the Source:

"Fire crews fought nearly two hours to contain a brush fire at one of Hawaii's best known landmarks. Fueled by high winds, the blaze scorched about two acres on the exterior of the Diamond Head State Monument before it was contained.

'I just think it's shocking. I run this area everyday. Five to seven days a week and don't expect to see this, especially on Diamond Head. This is one of the most pronounced landmarks here,' said Saint Louis Heights resident Victoria Sherwood.'"

Kalanianaole Highway Reopens Near Sea Life Park

"Kalanianaole Highway from Queen's Beach to Sea Life Park was reopened around 5:15 p.m. after it was shut down by a brush fire, police said Wednesday afternoon.

The brush fire had blocked Waimanalo-bound traffic on the highway from Queen's Beach to Sea Life Park.

Firefighters have contained 50 percent of the fire but were still battling the blaze on the Hawaii Kai side of the highway.

The fire had burned about 10 acres near the Makapuu Light House trail near Queen’s Beach, said Honolulu fire spokesman Capt. David Jenkins."

Killing with Kindness

A nice example of a large landowner in Oahu taking charge and being a steward of his own aina by reviving native plants and animals.

From the Source:

"Mr. Zweng envisions a day when some of his forest will be returned to the natural state it was in before 20,000 kinds of invasive plants and animals arrived, carried by explorers, tourists and indefatigable birds. He likes to point out that what he's attempting is much harder than the discipline known as forest management. 'Here, we're recreating the native forest," he said...

...Already, these three and various other volunteers seem to be making a difference: there are signs of hope in the forest. In meadows thinned of invasive trees and shrubs, new shoots of indigenous koa trees are sprouting, along with the flowering mountain naupaka and the palaa fern. The bright yellow kookoolau, a flower found only in Hawaii, is flourishing here, too...

Still, Mr. Zweng worries about his own mortality and how many years he has left to work in the forest. He dreams of the day the land is restored enough that he might see a bright red apapane or an orange-and-red iiwi, native birds that haven’t been in evidence in the valley for years.

Because in all likelihood, he said, the true verdict on his work will come not from environmentalists or the community, but from nature: 'Nature will tell us we’ve made a difference.'"

"Once fields are thinned of competing invasive plants, and more sun gets through, koa seedlings sprout on their own." - Photo courtesy of Laure Joliet for The New York Times

"Once fields are thinned of competing invasive plants, and more sun gets through, koa seedlings sprout on their own." - Photo courtesy of Laure Joliet for The New York Times