Oahu (West)

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.

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.

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."

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. 

Leeward Farmers Rebuild as HPD Continues Search for West Side Arsonist

"Police are still looking for an arsonist they believe started four fires on Oahu's Leeward coast." (Image: Hawaii News Now)

"Police are still looking for an arsonist they believe started four fires on Oahu's Leeward coast." (Image: Hawaii News Now)

From the Source:

Police are still looking for an arsonist they believe started four fires on Oahu's Leeward coast earlier this month.

Two of those fires burned 8,800 acres in Makaha and Waianae. The most destructive fire started in Waianae Valley just outside Ka Ala farm.

Eric Enos operates the cultural learning center there and says he has no doubts the fire was arson. He also says it's not the first time something like this has happened in the area.

Just down Waianae Valley Road, employees at Angels Scrap Yard estimate fires damaged about 90 percent of their inventory.

Several farmers in the area are also working to recover after fire burned over crops and damaged buildings.

He knows there is no quick fix, but Enos says putting a gate at the end of Waianae Valley Road could help keep track of people coming into the area, and deter criminals from entering.

"It's a hassle but if you look at the road, the stolen cars, the dumping, it adds up and it's millions of dollars worth of damage," Enos said.

Waianae Wildfire Destroys One Family's Home - Fundraiser Launched

Credit: KHON2

Credit: KHON2

A resilient spirit rises from the ashes. This hard-working family who lost their home in the Waianae Fire are showing what it means to stay positive even in the face of incredible trauma and loss.

Learn how you can protect your home and family with a few simple steps by downloading the Hawaii ReadySetGo! Wildland Fire Action Guide.

From the Source:

Turns out farm land wasn't the only thing destroyed by the weekend's wildfires in West Oahu. One family says they lost the place they called home.    

Originally from Thailand, the Jairuan family lived and worked on one of of the farm lands. While they lost their home and everything in it, they're grateful no one was seriously hurt. 

All the family can do right now is rely on the support of friends and family as they pick up the pieces, but Jairuan is rising above the ashes and staying positive. 

"This happened for a reason. This window is closed and the other one will open. Something will happen, something good will happen," he said.

Jairuan's friends have started a fundraiser for the family, to view please click here.

Waianae Brush Fire Damages 17-Lots at Waianae Agricultural Park

Credit: KITV4

Credit: KITV4

It pains us to hear this news - we know how much sweat, toil, and care goes into farming. If you are a farmer who was impacted by the fire, we are with you. HDOA's Agricultural Loan Division is also offering the farmers financial assistance since the state essentially owns the park.

If you are a farmer or rancher or manage large areas of land, the ReadySetGo! wildfire preparedness guide has a detailed step-by-step guide on how to prepare your lands for wildfire. Also, Pacific Fire Exchange has great resources for developing your own pre-fire  plans.

From the Source:

The brush fire in Waianae damaged all 17 state-lots at Wai'anae Agricultural Park. 

The 150-acre park is home to crops like tomatoes, kale and palms. After the fire ripped through Waianae Valley, what's left are its charred remains. 

The Waianae Ag Park is one of 10 in the state of Hawaii and one of four on Oahu. The state's Department of Agriculture says all 17 lots in Waianae suffered damages in the brush fire: four are total losses.

Apart from crops, several structures on those farm lots were destroyed. Some even lost vehicles, tools and equipment in the fire. The state says irrigation systems were also severely damaged

Crews Busy with Flare-ups as Wildfires in Waianae, Makaha Near 9,000 Acres

From the Source:

With 8,800 acres already burned, there's still no end in sight for two wildfires in Leeward Oahu.

On Tuesday, the Department of Education announced Leihoku and Makaha elementary schools reopened after flames got dangerously close to the schools on Monday forcing officials to cancel what was supposed to be the first day of classes.

NASA FIRMS satellite imagery of Oahu fires (most current areas that are burning as of Aug. 7 12 pm). Orange and red are different satellites.

NASA FIRMS satellite imagery of Oahu fires (most current areas that are burning as of Aug. 7 12 pm). Orange and red are different satellites.

NASA FIRMS satellite imagery of Oahu fires (burn areas since the start of the fires). Orange and red are different satellites.

NASA FIRMS satellite imagery of Oahu fires (burn areas since the start of the fires). Orange and red are different satellites.

 

"The fuel load is very dry. It's been a hot summer. We haven't had a fire in a long time. There's a lot of fuel load out there, so all of these things are combining," said [Battalion Chief Howard] Naone. "Right now, everybody's kind of relaxed. These guys were on duty on Saturday, so they're tired, and they're trying to not rush. Rushing leads to injuries and leads to people getting hurt and bad decisions like that, so we're just trying to take our time."

"We're taxing the total island of resources. Engines are coming from the windward side of the island. They're coming from town. They're coming from as far away as Kahuku to come here and fight the fire," said Naone.

Recent Wildfires Burn Through State's Fire Response Budget

Makaha Valley fire that burned precious native forest. Credit: Dr. Clay Trauernicht

Makaha Valley fire that burned precious native forest. Credit: Dr. Clay Trauernicht

There is no question -- wildfire in Hawaii have extensive impacts on our natural resources from our native forests down to the coral reefs. And there is no question that fighting fires is expensive (and increasingly so everywhere including in Hawaii. Wildfire prevention and pre-fire management are proven to make a significant positive impact on the protection of communities and natural resources and are much more cost-effective than fighting fires. By supporting HWMO's work, you are also supporting our close partners from State Division of Forestry and Wildlife, the county fire departments, and all others who are tasked with putting it all out on the line to fight fires in Hawaii. With the very busy peak fire season erupting this last week, we hope you can consider making a contribution to HWMO to protect our communities, lands, and waters from wildfire. Mahalo!

From the Source:

Wildfires have burned roughly 30,000 acres statewide in the past week, gobbling up the state's limited resources for fire response efforts.

Among the casualties: The flames scorched some endangered native plants in the Makua Keaau Forest Reserve.

"Gouania vitifolia is a plant that has less than 50 individuals in the wild and a significant population was burned. Also, the state flower, hibiscus brackenridgei, we had a little place that was protected for them, managed for them and those burned up, too," said Marigold Zoll, the Division of Forestry and Wildlife's Oahu branch manager.

Less than six weeks into the new fiscal year, officials have already spent about a third of the DOFAW's budget for fire and emergency response, including the Kilauea eruption.

"Most of our fires are started by people, so if you see suspicious activities, please report it to the authorities," said Trauernicht. "Also beware, don't park in the tall grass, you can start fires from the catalytic converters under your car. "If you're barbecuing or having campfires, make sure you put them out."

HFD Gets Large Brush Fire in Kapolei Under Control

The Ka Makana Alii mall was evacuated due to the fire. Credit: Hawaii News Now

The Ka Makana Alii mall was evacuated due to the fire. Credit: Hawaii News Now

Very rarely do we get a chance to see a wildfire grow and see the fire response via a webcam. The Kapolei fire, which caused the evacuation of the large Ka Makana Alii mall, was a unique one for that reason. Thank you to Oahu's firefighters for continuing to protect lives and safety every day.

From the Source:

Firefighters worked vigorously Tuesday to extinguish yet another brush fire that burned in Leeward Oahu. 

The Kapolei fire was reported just after 3 p.m. near Renton Road and Kapolei Parkway.

Thick smoke was seen billowing for miles as almost 50 firefighters rushed to the scene.

The fire prompted the closure of Kapolei Parkway in both directions from Kualakai Parkway to Renton Road. That road reopened just after 7:30 p.m.

Ka Makana Alii was also evacuated around 4 p.m. Heavy smoke and the fire's proximity to the mall led HPD to block off entrances to the center, and mall security to order patrons out.

At one point, officials said the blaze was headed towards homes along Renton Road, but firefighters were able to stop it.

Community Members Show Outpouring of Support for HFD Battling Leeward Oahu Fires

Oahu residents have been showing an outpouring of support for Waianae firefighters. Credit: Cliff Laronai / Hawaii News Now

Oahu residents have been showing an outpouring of support for Waianae firefighters. Credit: Cliff Laronai / Hawaii News Now

It makes us so happy to see so much aloha during a challenging time with the large fires burning on Oahu. Learn how you can support the firefighters by calling: Renee at 808-953-8919, Noe at 808-861-3122, or Maranda at 808-861-0874. Mahalo to the community members who are looking after our hard-working firefighters!

From the Source:

Hawaii residents are donating goods in droves in a show of support for the firefighters who have been battling the treacherous west side brush fires since Saturday.

“It really helps the guys," said Honolulu Fire Capt. Scot Seguirant. "When they’re out there working hard and they come back, and they find out that what’s there is actually from the community, that’s awesome. It makes you feel the love and makes you continue to do your job well.”

The two fires — in Waianae Valley and Makaha Valley — have scorched a combined 8,800 acres of land on the Leeward Coast.

So far dozens of Oahu residents, both adults and children, have dropped off items at the Waianae Fire Station, including donations of bottled water, Gatorade, fresh fruit, and granola bars, among other items.

Latest Leeward Oahu Brush Fires Update: 2 Elementary Schools Closed, Structures Destroyed

We are deeply sorry for the losses so far incurred by the multiple wildfires burning in Leeward Oahu. Many livelihoods are also being affected by the fire -- we are thinking of you from the Big Island. Wildfire preparedness tips including what to do when a fire is burning in your area or if you are trapped in you home: http://www.hawaiiwildfire.org/fire-resource-library-blog/rsg-your-personal-wildland-fire-action-guide
 

From the Source:

"Monday marks day three of the ongoing battle to extinguish wildfires burning out of control on Oahu's Leeward Coast.

At least two fires have been burning since Saturday morning, charring a combined total of 5,000 acres.

View of fire from Moeha Street. Credit: Tessa Luna / Hawaii News Now

View of fire from Moeha Street. Credit: Tessa Luna / Hawaii News Now

Waianae Valley fire as seen Monday morning from Leihoku St. Credit: Hawaii News Now

Waianae Valley fire as seen Monday morning from Leihoku St. Credit: Hawaii News Now

Credit: Sam Cragen / Hawaii News Now

Credit: Sam Cragen / Hawaii News Now

On Monday, the Department of Education announced Leihoku Elementary in Waianae and Makaha Elementary would be closed closed for the day, on what was supposed to be the first day of the new school year.

As of late Sunday night, Honolulu fire officials said there was little containment for the two fires — one in Makaha Valley and another in Waianae Valley.

HFD provided an update just before midnight, saying the fire in Makaha, which has spread to 3,000 acres, was only 30 percent contained.

Credit: Adam Peoples / Hawaii News Now

Credit: Adam Peoples / Hawaii News Now

In Waianae Valley, firefighters lost the upper hand, saying the fire was 40 percent contained, down from a previous estimation of 50 percent containment Saturday night. More than 2,000 acres have burned in this fire as it slowly inches down slope."

 

At least five farm-type structures have been destroyed so far, and HFD also reported one minor civilian injury.

One family in the Waianae area says they've lost their home and livelihood in the unrelenting flames.

Brush Fire Scorches at Least 10 acres of Land in Ewa Beach

The brushfire occurred near Asing Community Park in Ewa Beach

The brushfire occurred near Asing Community Park in Ewa Beach

From the Source:

Firefighters responded to a brush fire in Ewa Beach on Saturday afternoon.

About 10 acres have been scorched by the blaze near Asing Community Park off Renton Road, according to officials. Firefighters arrived on the scene around 12:34 p.m. and were able to fully contain the flames at 9:50 p.m.

Honokai Hale Brush Fire Brought Farrington Highway to a Halt

From the Source:

KITV4_2018_5_23_Honokai Hale fire.png

"A brush fire broke out in the Honokai Hale area Wednesday morning, the fire has since been extinguished.

Though the impact the fire had on traffic was brutal.  All westbound lanes were closed on Farrington Highway at La'aloa Street."

Firefighters Douse Brush Fire That Came Close to Makakilo Homes

Photo credit: KFVE

Photo credit: KFVE

Another close-call with brushfires in Makakilo -- this time the fire came within 30 feet of homes on Friday afternoon, burning three to five acres. 

From the Source:

"A fast-moving brush fire in Makakilo came close to homes Friday, but was doused quickly.

The blaze neared homes Friday afternoon, at times coming within 30 feet.

The fire started about 2:50 p.m., and was under control by about 3:45 p.m.

An estimated three to five acres were burned, and a shed also caught on fire."

Kalaeloa Paintball Business Surveys Damage After Brush Fire

KHON2 Screen capture

KHON2 Screen capture

It pains us to see the damage occurred to this hard working business owner, Bob Kahana, who has put so much time and effort into building his popular business, on top of losing a dog in the large Kalaeloa brushfire. But we are inspired by his resilience - "Yeah, well, we started from nothing. We'll get it back up." We are with you, Bob, and hope you and your business spring back onto your feet.

From the Source:

"Bob Kahana, co-owner of Hawaii Extreme Paintball, says a dog did not survive the fire, and nearly three acres of the property burned down.

Kahana estimates the fire will cause about a 60-percent loss in business.

‘I don’t want to say we got a lick, but we’ll see,’ he said.”