lava

Lava-Related Brush Fire Claims Four Homes Near Kapoho

"This photo of the western margin of the lava flow at the oceanfront was taken Sunday. The western flow margin did not advance overnight, and remained approximately 0.1 mile from the Pohoiki Boat Ramp at Isaac Hale Beach Park this morning." Credit: USGS

"This photo of the western margin of the lava flow at the oceanfront was taken Sunday. The western flow margin did not advance overnight, and remained approximately 0.1 mile from the Pohoiki Boat Ramp at Isaac Hale Beach Park this morning." Credit: USGS

We are very sorry to hear about the continual loss of homes from the eruption -- this time caused by lava-related brushfires. 

From the Source:

Four houses were destroyed Saturday by a brush fire along Kilauea volcano’s lower East Rift Zone.

The houses were in the Halekamahina Road area off Highway 132 near Kapoho, according to Janet Snyder, spokeswoman for Mayor Harry Kim.

Hawaii County residents with losses as a result of the Kilauea eruptions and earthquakes have through Monday, Aug. 13, to register for disaster assistance with FEMA, which can be done at the DRC, weekdays 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturdays, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Registration can also be done online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay service may call 800-621-3362. The toll-free numbers are open 7 a.m.-10 p.m. seven days a week.

Brushfire Threatens Homes in Puna, Residents Evacuated Wednesday

Puna may be one of the rainiest areas on Hawaii Island, but that does not mean that brushfires cannot happen there. In fact, a brushfire on Wednesday, July 5, threatened 5 homes forcing residents to evacuate. Uluhe ferns are known to burn and carry fires quickly. Make sure to remove dead leaves from them and provide at least 10 feet of spacing above and around them if they are near your home. More tips in the Ready, Set, Go! Wildland Fire Action Guide.

From the Source:

"Firefighters arrived to find a fire spreading in vacant lots along Iolani Street spreading mauka and makai due to gusts of trade winds. Crews worked to protect five homes along Cook and Kapiolani Streets as area residents were evacuated.

Crews had a difficulty fighting the fire due to heavy smoke reducing visibility to zero at times. Firefighters encountered Uluhe Ferns, Ohia Trees and unstable a‘a lava terrain while fighting the blaze. Tanker units were brought in to supply water as Chopper One did an aeria survey. Traffic was detoured to Diamond Head Drive and Aloha Road during firefighting operations."

Devastating Wildfires Pose Growing Threat to Hawaii's Lush Forest and Water Resources

Excellent, well-rounded article about the mauka to makai connectivity in regards to wildfires. Our wildfire issues are making national headlines!

From the Source:

"In addition to chipping away at the last of Hawaii's native forests, wildfires also threaten the state's limited freshwater resources. According to Elizabeth Pickett of the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, fires can make the soil hydrophobic, meaning less water infiltrates the soil and contributes to the state's precious groundwater resources.

Wildfires are also destructive to the state's treasured coral reefs.

The most recent National Climate Assessment reports that Hawaii's coral reefs are already struggling to survive due to bleaching events and ocean acidification."

 

Sign-up for a free-trial of ClimateWire to read the full article (it's worth it!):

http://www.eenews.net/login?r=%2Fclimatewire%2Fstories%2F1060016599%2Fsearch%3Fkeyword%3Dhawaii

"A forest fire creeps down to the sea from the West Maui Mountains. Photo courtesy of Peter Liu."

"A forest fire creeps down to the sea from the West Maui Mountains.
Photo courtesy of Peter Liu."

Family's Spirit Still Strong After Fire

Recovering from a loss of one's home after a fire or any other natural disaster may be one of the most difficult things to come to terms with and overcome.

Even after the lava flow took their home of seven years, this inspiring family's focus towards the future and gratefulness for the strength and support of their ʻohana is a great reminder of what's important this holiday season.

From the Source: 

"A family whose life turned upside down when lava from Kilauea Volcano set fire to their home of seven years said despite the recent challenges, they'll be counting their blessings this Thanksgiving.

'We're gathering with friends and family and having a potluck, and we will be so thankful for the family here, our cousins and everybody in Kala­pana helping us out,' said Margaret Byrd, whose family was renting the home on Apaa Street that burned down from the lava flow on Nov. 10. 'Be thankful for another day.'"

Above: Credit - USA Today

Above: Credit - USA Today

Airspace Over Flow Restricted; Lava Sparks Brush Fire as it Continues Advance

Hawaii Wildfire is on the verge of creating new fuelbreaks on the west side of the Big Island and plans to continue gathering additional funds for fuelbreaks across the state.

Fuelbreaks help slow down the spread of wildfires, but more importantly, they provide greater access for firefighters to contain, control and suppress a wildfire. Case and point with this recent wildfire sparked by the June 27 lava flow:

From the Source: 

"The June 27 lava flow sparked a brush fire as it continued its progress toward Pahoa on Monday.

Meanwhile, Civil Defense officials, in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration, have restricted the airspace above the leading edge of the flow in response to increased traffic of sightseers and media personnel.

Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira told reporters Monday afternoon there did not appear to be any threat to surrounding neighborhoods as a result of the runaway brush fire.

'It burned about 150 acres, it’s slowly moving in the north direction towards Ainaloa,' he said. 'But, we’ve already cut firebreaks in that area, and the fire department is on the scene with offroad vehicles watching the firebreak, just making sure we don’t have any embers jump across. There’s no threat to any communities.'

Located on the west, or mauka, side of Highway 130 between Pahoa and Ainaloa, the fire has been boxed in by firebreaks and is not anticipated to threaten any homes or businesses. However, the smoke generated by the fire could increase downwind or to the north of the fire in the areas of Ainaloa and Hawaiian Paradise Park, according to a county press release."

"The Hawaii Department of Health advises residents dependent on medical services, treatment, or supplies and who live in communities that may be cut off by the advancing lava flow to relocate outside the affected area to ensure continued access to necessary medical support. If the lava flow crosses Highway 130, medical services and supplies will be severely limited and emergency medical service response time may be significantly delayed."

Above: Credit - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Above: Credit - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Lava, Fire, and the Forest

From the Source:

“Wildfires have a dramatic effect on Hawaiian landscapes (D’Antonio et al. 2000). Historically, wildfires were believed to be relatively small and infrequent (more than 700 years apart) in Hawaiian forests despite the presence of natural ignition sources such as lightning and lava flows (LaRosa et al. 2010). In 2002 and 2003, lava-ignited wildfires occurred in the East Rift forests of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, and were presumably intensified by drought and nonnative plant species that alter fuel loads and fire behavior.”

"Photo on left: Unburned - Middle photo: Burned in 2003, photo taken in 2010 - Photo on right: Burned again in 2011"   Photo credit - The National Park Service 

"Photo on left: Unburned - Middle photo: Burned in 2003, photo taken in 2010 - Photo on right: Burned again in 2011"
Photo credit - The National Park Service 

Lava Field Fire Crews Struggle to Protect Forest

From the Source:

“Forty mainland firefighters are cutting a second line of defense in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park against fires started by lava flows from Kilauea volcano, the park announced.
The effort is a continuation of work under way since November that has restricted fires to the immediate vicinity of lava flows, said park spokeswoman Mardie Lane. The result has been the protection of a lowland rain forest characterized primarily by lama trees, a wood considered sacred in Hawaiian culture, she said.”

Above:  "A firefighter in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park watches as lava burns a new path through a lama tree forest this week. Newly built firebreaks and the relative resistance of this kind of forest to flames have prevented a conflagration." Photo from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Above: 
"A firefighter in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park watches as lava burns a new path through a lama tree forest this week. Newly built firebreaks and the relative resistance of this kind of forest to flames have prevented a conflagration."
Photo from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park