rescues

58 Acres Scorched in Paʻia and Haʻiku Brush Fires

Photo Credit: Anna Kim / Maui Now

Photo Credit: Anna Kim / Maui Now

With very strong trade winds blowing and continuing dry conditions, be on the Wildfire Lookout! and evacuate early. Six homes were evacuated on the makai side of Hana Highway on Maui for a fire that came to within five feet of the homes. 

"Forty-two minutes after the Pāʻia fire was extinguished, crews responded to reports of a brush fire makai-side of Hāna Highway at the Ha‘ikū Road intersection at 6:32 p.m. When Pāʻia crews arrived 10 minutes later, a half acre of land was already scorched.

'Crews had just left the scene of the Pāʻia fire and didn’t even make it back to the station when they responded to the second fire,' Chief Taomoto said."

'When you’re in an open field with nothing going on, you start eliminating the potential igniting sources—structures and power lines, human habitation—and you come up with nothing, so there is the potential human cause and someone fled the scene,' he said.

Chief Taomoto said if the conditions are right and multiple factors line-up perfectly something as simple as a cigarette thrown out of a window could start some of the roadside fires. However, he said it’s suspicious when there are multiple fires within a small area, he used the three small grass fires off the Pali last month as an example."

Amid The Horrors Of Wildfire, A Tale Of Survival And Singed Whiskers

NPR Article_10_17_17_image31-8f82cf86d4515949ba78a675845ff4fe6bd9bcdd-s800-c85.jpg

It has been heavy news, one after another, with the California wildfires alone (not to mention the numerous destructive hurricanes this summer). We thought we'd share this incredible story of survival (of both humans and pets) for a glimpse at the silver-linings that can exist during such tremendous disasters. Added bonus, the story reveals how strategic, controlled grazing can literally save lives!

From the Source:

"What they discovered was both the worst and the best of outcomes. The house was gone, the trucks were gone, everything was ash and gray.

Except for the goats.

All eight of them had survived. Odin did, too, limping, with singed fur and melted whiskers. But his tail still wagged. Hendel thinks he knows what happened."

"As he shuffled through some things — watching objects disintegrate into ash as he poked at them — he heard the noise. It was unmistakable: a bleat that could only come from a goat. There, standing in the drive were Lucy and Ethel, singed and hungry and fine. Somebody, probably the firefighters, had even left them a bowl of water. He has no real idea how they survived, only a theory.

'All I can think is the pasture was just low grass and so the fire couldn't sustain itself there.'"

9 Honored During Annual Sayre Foundation Awards Dinner

"Dr. Frank Sayre and his wife, Laura Mallery-Sayre, join Gov. Davis Ige and his wife for a photo with the 2017 honorees during the 20th annual Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation Awards Dinner and Fundraiser on Saturday at The Fairmont Orchid on the Kohala Coast." Credit: Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today

"Dr. Frank Sayre and his wife, Laura Mallery-Sayre, join Gov. Davis Ige and his wife for a photo with the 2017 honorees during the 20th annual Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation Awards Dinner and Fundraiser on Saturday at The Fairmont Orchid on the Kohala Coast." Credit: Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today

A toast to the Sayres for their incredible dedication to providing local first responders with the rescue equipment they need and to the nine honorees for their heroic rescue efforts. 

From the Source:

"In the past 20 years, the Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation has raised $1.76 million, helping get emergency responders what they need to get the job done.

On a night dedicated to celebrating the impacts they’ve had on the lives they saved, the event’s honorees made special note of the impact the foundation has had on them.

'We’re just doing our job; we don’t do this to be recognized,' said Judd, who was honored for his involvement in resuscitating a heart attack patient and a cliff rescue. 'The heroes are the Sayres and the people behind this organization and those who support it.'"

Clean-Up Efforts Underway in Waimea Following 2,200 Acre Brush Fire

"Land is visibly charred near Highway 190 in Waimea Saturday. Friday's runaway brush fire Friday burned 2,200-acres, destroyed a home and closed the highway for several hours." Credit: Tom Callis / Hawaii Tribune Herald

"Land is visibly charred near Highway 190 in Waimea Saturday. Friday's runaway brush fire Friday burned 2,200-acres, destroyed a home and closed the highway for several hours." Credit: Tom Callis / Hawaii Tribune Herald

Our hearts go out to the residents who lost their home during Friday's runaway brushfire in Waimea that burned 2,200 acres of land. Fortunately, no one was injured but one lost home affects our whole community. We also wish Parker Ranch the best for its recovery after losing several miles of water line and fencing and other infrastructure (as well as grazing land). Parker Ranch has been a long-time partner of HWMO's and they are a major event sponsor for the upcoming Firefighter Chili Cook-Off benefit on August 26th. 

From the Source:

“'As to why it started, and how it started, we don’t know. We have a burn ban in West Hawaii, so no one should be burning anything, so on that part, it’s illegal, but I don’t think it was an intentionally set brush fire.'"

"'It burned around (2,200 acres), and we’re expecting most of that to be ours,” Guilloz said. 'We had several miles of water line burned and fencing as well that has been burned. They were able to save most of our water tanks, but right now we’re still (assessing).'"

Blue Cut Fire in Southern California Updates and Stories (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

"Driving along the 138, everything looks scorched." Credit: @Brittny_Mejia

Wildfire season is off to a heavy start in California. 3 large wildfires - Blue Cut, Clayton, and Chimney - have collectively burned over 43,000 acres and destroyed over 200 homes. Many firefighters are claiming they have never seen fire behavior from these fires quite like they have this year. We keep hearing this year after year. The new norm is the abnormal with climate change.

Our thoughts are with all of those who have lost loved ones, homes and valuables through the rash of wildfires burning through California. Big shoutout to the first responders who have put their lives on the line during these harrowing fires.

From the Source:

"Paik said he has lived intermittently in his van over the last two days. When he left his house Tuesday night, he said, he didn't bring anything with him, but returned to his powerless home the next day to get clothes and his passport.

'The firemen worked hard,' he said. 'I had … confidence, maybe overconfidence, so I just brought nothing.'"

"Firefighters use standard guidelines to maneuver amid a fire, he said, prioritizing life safety over property conservation and property conservation over environmental protection. But there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

'It helps the firefighters,' he said, 'but every fire is different.  There’s not a set ‘If this is happening, do this.’ It’s all up to the best judgment of the firefighters.'"

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

Dealing with Wildfires in North Hawaii

HWMO, along with its fire agency partners, are highlighted in this week's edition of North Hawaii News! Get the inside scoop on what it took to fight the challenging Kawaihae Fire last month from those who were on the front lines. You'll also find some of the work HWMO is doing to keep wildfire occurrences and destructive effects to a minimum. 

Aftermath of Kawaihae fire that burned from makai to mauka. (Pablo Beimler/HWMO)

From the Source:

"With fewer per capita emergency resources than higher populated areas like Honolulu, HFD has to make strategic use of available resources to cover large geographic areas on challenging terrain. Communication, coordination among units, planning, training, equipment and following well-established priorites are crucial, according to Captain Sommers."

"Pablo Beimler, education and outreach coordinator for Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO), has created a compelling video vividly depicting the Kawaihae wildfire’s cumulative damage to coastal areas. It can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kNo7Ucv28Y.

With this month’s fire coming close to the ocean, HWMO’s Executive Director Elizabeth Pickett says, “'Most residents do not readily connect wildfire to coastal impacts because there is frequently a lag time and often geographic distance between fires and storm events.'"

How to Help California Wildfire Victims

Screen capture from CNN video.

Screen capture from CNN video.

The wildfires that have ravaged Northern California's Napa, Lake, Amador, and Calaveras counties have destroyed hundreds of homes and business, leveled a popular holistic retreat, and killed half a dozen people. There are a number of ways in which you can help the victims of these fires, even if you live across the oceans:

  • Providing funds
  • Finding Victims
  • Locating Animals Through Social Media

Honoring Our Heroes

Thanksgiving is coming early again this year, with the upcoming Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation Awards Dinner and Silent Auction on August 30th at the Fairmont Orchid. We are so grateful to call Frank Sayre a member of our Board of Directors and we say mahalo to all the firefighters, rescue specialists and lifeguards who risk their lives on a continual basis to save other people's lives. Hear some of the incredible stories in this article, which are a teaser to the talk story event at the end of the month.

From the Source: 

"The Daniel R. Sayre Memorial Foundation was named after Laura Mallery-Sayre and Frank Sayre’s son 17 years ago. They told the Rotary members how in 1997, a day or two before their son, Dan, was leaving for college, he decided to go for a hike to one of his favorite spots in Pololu Valley near Kapaloa Falls. He fell from the side of the cliff, and it took a day and a half until he was located. He was so far into the valley that the rescue turned into a 10-hour operation.

As the rescue team was called off for the day, David Okita, helicopter pilot, came to help. The firefighters all volunteered to stay, and two were lowered in to the valley to reach the 25-year-old in a dangerous rescue in the dense forest – with the helicopter blades shredding trees during the attempt. When rescue workers finally reached Dan, the Sayres were told that their son hadn’t survived.

Mallery-Sayre said that watching the men in action and seeing their compassion and commitment firsthand in the couple’s greatest hour of need, spurred the Sayres to find a way to thank the rescuers. They found there was no formal way for them to recognize the men who had risked their lives.

The Sayres also learned that better equipment could have made their son’s rescue much safer and easier for the firefighters.

“The reason they had to risk their lives was because they didn’t have ropes that were long enough to reach Dan,” Mallery-Sayre said. 'It was amazing to us that with the terrain on the island that they didn’t have that sort of thing.'"

"'We started the foundation in 1997 with a dual purpose – to honor the men and women that went above and beyond the call of duty and to raise money to protect and save us and to protect and save themselves,' Frank Sayre told the group.

'How do you ever thank someone enough for risking their life … or volunteering to stay?' Mallery-Sayre said. 'That is one of the things that keeps me fired up every year. If we can save one life, then our efforts are all worthwhile.'"

Above: "The Sayres pose with members of the Rotary Club of North Hawaii after a weekly meeting on Aug. 13." (Credit - Lisa M. Dahm/NHN)

Above: "The Sayres pose with members of the Rotary Club of North Hawaii after a weekly meeting on Aug. 13." (Credit - Lisa M. Dahm/NHN)

IAFC Honors Kauai Fire Department for Overnight Rescue of 121 Hikers

Congratulations to Kaua'i Fire for receiving one of the highest honors firefighters can receive. Well deserved after an incredible, unprecedented rescue effort. Mahalo for your continual courage and selflessness.

From the Source: 

"The daring two-day rescue of 121 hikers stranded by a sudden flash flood along the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast of Kaua'i, Hawaii, ranks as one of the largest trail rescues in island history. Facing torrential rain, gusting winds and rising waters, Rescue 3 of the Kaua'i Fire Department repeatedly put their own lives at risk to return all 121 survivors to safety.

The heroic actions of Rescue 3 are being lauded with the 2014 presentation of the International Association of Fire Chiefs' (IAFC) and Motorola Solutions' prestigious Benjamin Franklin Fire Service Award for Valor. For 45 years, the award has recognized first responders around the world for their expert training, leadership, heroic actions and safe practices.

Medals will be given to Captain Gordon Tamura, Rescue Specialists Aaron Hawthorne and Adam Hussey, Rescue Operator Bryan Doo and pilot Clifton Cates at the general session of Fire-Rescue International on August 14 in Dallas."'

"As one survivor has said, praising their selfless acts of courage, 'I will never look at another firefighter the same way. I now intimately know the risks they take and the sacrifices they make to ensure the safety of others. That day, it was evident to all 121 of us, we were in excellent hands.'"

Above: Credit - Hawaii News Now

Above: Credit - Hawaii News Now

Puppy Saved in Fire That Destroys Home

Pay close attention to the final paragraph (Red Cross' guidelines for disaster planning.)

From the Source: 

"A midday fire destroyed a three-bedroom home in the upper Kaumana area of Hilo on Friday. 

No one was home when the blaze broke out at 143 Kualua Place, according to homeowner Jackie Uemura.

“Just a puppy,” she said, and added the animal was unharmed. “We’re very thankful the fireman found the puppy.”

Fire Capt. David Minor described the house as “a total loss.”

“When we pulled up to the front, the house was fully engulfed,” he said. “It was flaming from both sides. We worked to protect the houses on both sides from exposure (to the flames) and worked our way in closer.

“It went up really fast.”

Police closed nearby Pulima Drive to traffic between Kuakolu Street and Country Club Drive for about two hours while firefighters worked to keep the fire from spreading to nearby homes.

Fire inspectors were investigating Friday afternoon but hadn’t yet determined the cause of the fire.

Uemura said her son and his family lived at the home which the family built in 1976.

“You always think this is going to happen to somebody else,” Uemura said, tearfully.

According to county property tax records, the assessed value of the 1,200-square-foot home with carport was $95,800.

American Red Cross volunteers responded to help the displaced family with emergency food, shelter and clothing. Caseworkers will continue to follow up with anyone affected in the coming weeks to provide referrals, guidance or additional assistance as needed to help with the recovery process.

The Red Cross encourages all families to make a disaster plan to include an evacuation plan with two routes of escape, a communications plan to help families reconnect after disaster and a readily available disaster supplies kit. Information on developing a family plan is available at redcross.org; a brochure can be requested by calling 734-2101."

Above: "Van Uemura Jr. hugs his son, Cameron Uemura, while holding their puppy in front of their Hilo home, which was destroyed in a fire Friday." Credit: Hollyn Johnson / Stephens Media Hawaii

Above: "Van Uemura Jr. hugs his son, Cameron Uemura, while holding their puppy in front of their Hilo home, which was destroyed in a fire Friday." Credit: Hollyn Johnson / Stephens Media Hawaii

Wolf Pups Rescued from Funny River Fire in Alaska's Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Another reason to commend our brave and dedicated firefighters!

From the Source: 

"A massive wildfire tearing through Alaska's Kenai National Wildlife Refuge has caused wildlife to flee the area, but not every creature managed to escape.

Earlier this week, firefighters found a den of wolf pups that had been left behind when the rest of their pack raced away from the advancing flames of the Funny River Fire.

The pups were dehydrated, injured and hungry -- but almost all of them were alive.

'On Tuesday, 5/27, we rescued 5 wolf pups from the fire line. Due to the disturbance the parents abandoned the den. The pups were not harmed by the fire although all had porcupine quills that were removed by the medics working on the fire line. The pups were all given water and glucose by the medics (see photo). Alaska Department of Fish and Game and refuge personnel removed the pups from the area and they were transported to Anchorage for holding prior to permanent placement elsewhere. Thanks goes to Gannett Glacier firefighters and Division X-ray medics for all their good work.'"

Above: The wolf pups. Credit: Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Above: The wolf pups. Credit: Kenai National Wildlife Refuge

Kona Woman Brings Treats to Express Gratitude to Hawaii Fire Department

"'It’s good to know we made a difference,' he said. 'It means everything we’ve trained for — it’s a reflection on everyone, what they did preparing us for this moment. Things like this, it’s a treat to have someone come and show their appreciation.'"

We are so appreciative of having such a solid core of individuals as our long-time partners.

From the Source: 

"Dee Faessler has had a year to think about why she was so hesitant to seek medical attention last May, when she began feeling something she thought was bad indigestion or heartburn.

The discomfort kept building, until her husband called for an ambulance.

'I thought it would be better in a few minutes,' Faessler said. 'It wasn’t.'

Paramedic Ivan Higashi arrived and convinced her to go to the hospital.

'He said, ‘Since I’m here anyway, maybe we can go anyway,’' Faessler said. 'He didn’t laugh or anything.'

Higashi even told her he would feel bad if he heard anything had happened to her, and said he didn’t want to return to the station and tell his co-workers he was sent away. Faessler said she almost felt bad for him, so she agreed to go along. Once in the ambulance, she said she noted his professional manner.

'They do an amazing amount of stuff really quickly,' she said. 'They’re very calm when they do this.'

Faessler reached the hospital, where she was diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia — a rapid heart rate — and sent to The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu, where doctors installed an implant defibrillator with a lead on her heart.

In June 2013, she wrote a letter to Fire Chief Darren Rosario commending Higashi.

'Had Ivan not ignored how I really didn’t want to go to the hospital — I would now be dead,' Faessler wrote.

On Tuesday, she met up with Higashi, his ambulance driver and several other medics and firefighters who responded to subsequent calls to her Kailua-Kona home last summer, when her defibrillator shocked her during new accelerated heart rate incidents. Faessler brought flower lei, carrot cake and mint chocolate chip ice cream to thank them for saving her."

Above: "Dee Faessler center brought cake, ice cream and leis to the Kailua Fire station on Tuesday as a thank you to paramedics including from right Ivan Higashi, Jamie Okuda, Tay Soares, Kyle Teves and Battalion Chief Reuben Chun for taking care of her on multiple trips to the Kona Hospital Emergency Room." Credit - Laura Shimabuku/Special to West Hawaii Today

Above: "Dee Faessler center brought cake, ice cream and leis to the Kailua Fire station on Tuesday as a thank you to paramedics including from right Ivan Higashi, Jamie Okuda, Tay Soares, Kyle Teves and Battalion Chief Reuben Chun for taking care of her on multiple trips to the Kona Hospital Emergency Room." Credit - Laura Shimabuku/Special to West Hawaii Today

Firefighters Sign 'Let it Go' to Calm Scared Child During Rescue (VIDEO)

Another example of how wonderfully adaptable, clever, and humorous firefighters can be! A nice break from the grim fire outlooks.

From the Source:

"These Massachusetts firemen found a unique (and adorable) way to soothe a little girl while rescuing her and her family from a stuck elevator shaft.

Last week, Kaelyn Kerr, 4, was headed to a hair appointment with her mother and baby brother when they become trapped in an elevator, Today reported. The only way out was up a ladder and over a high wall, and little Kaelyn became frightened.

That's when one of the firefighters began talking to the child about the hit Disney movie "Frozen" to distract her, and the other played the famous song from the film, "Let It Go," on his cell phone. Soon, they were both serenading Kaelyn.

"It worked, we got her to a point where she was comfortable with us and up the ladder we went, right up and over, no problem," firefighter John Keough said to Fox 59."

Above: Courtesy of Huffington Post

Above: Courtesy of Huffington Post

Remote Brush Fire Above Nanakuli Challenges Fire Crews

From the Source:

"Firefighters had a difficult time reaching the fire and asked staff from nearby Camp Timberline and Monsanto to help them gain access to the blaze, Yamada said. 

The fire was first reported around 12:54 p.m. Sunday and about an hour later responders were still struggling with how to put it out." 

GoPro: Fireman Saves Kitten (VIDEO)

Amazing video of firefighters rescuing a kitten from a burning home, all filmed with a GoPro camera - get a taste of what it's like to step in a heroic firefighter's boots!

Shot 100% on the HD HERO3® camera from ‪http://GoPro.com. Fireman Cory Kalanick rescues an unconscious kitten from a burning house filled with smoke. Music Dexter Britain "Perfect Moment" http://dexterbritain.bandcamp.com/ Original video here: http://goo.gl/Eyv8Y

Lost Mauna Loa Hikers Rescued

We are grateful for all of the risks and hard-work our Hawaii island fire department personnel endure each and every day. 

From the Source:

“Rescuers from the county and the US Army’s Pohakuloa Training Area assisted a group of hikers who had become lost while descending from the summit of Mauna Loa Saturday night.”

"A team of HFD and PTA personnel located the lost hikers with the help of PTA “brush trucks,” a combination all-terrain vehicle for firefighting and rescues and escorted them to the observatory."

Above: "Two brush trucks similar to the one picture above were used to help rescue hikers lost on Mauna Loa. Texas A&M photo."

Above: "Two brush trucks similar to the one picture above were used to help rescue hikers lost on Mauna Loa. Texas A&M photo."