road closures

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.

Kokee Road Fires Under Investigation

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From the Source:

Firefighters responded to multiple brush fires that broke out along Koke‘e Road throughout the day Sunday, starting in the early morning hours and ending in the evening.

There were no reports of injuries or structural damage related to the fires.

Roughly 50 acres were burned before the blaze could be contained by emergency crews around 5:20 p.m. Fire crews ran out of water in their engines throughout the course of the day fighting the fire and were forced to reload on several occasions.

Anyone with information is urged to call the KPD at 241-1711.

Mauna Loa Road Closed To Cars Due To Very High Fire Danger

On December 13, volunteers remove koali ʻawa from Kīpukapuaulu (NSP Photo/Janice Wei)

On December 13, volunteers remove koali ʻawa from Kīpukapuaulu (NSP Photo/Janice Wei)

From the Source:

The gate near Kīpukapuaulu parking area has been closed, as Mauna Loa Road has been declared off limits to motorized vehicles until further notice, due to a very high fire danger.

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park officials on Monday said non-motorized day use such as hiking and bicycling will be permitted, and backcountry camping on Mauna Loa is still allowed with a permit.

Open fires, including charcoal cooking fires, are prohibited at the Kīpukapuaulu picnic area, and Kilauea Military Camp. Propane or gas cooking stoves are permitted, park officials say.

“The strong winds and dry weather over the past week has led to a rapid escalation of fire danger on Mauna Loa, and fire danger indexes have reached critical thresholds at the Mauna Loa weather station,” said Fire Management Officer Greg Funderburk.

The Naional Park Service says “hot components on motor vehicles have historically contributed to the increased risk of fire. By reducing the number of vehicles in high-risk areas, the park can mitigate the potential for a catastrophic event.”

Over the summer, a 3,739-acre wildfire on Mauna Loa threatened values park resources like the Kīpukakī and Kīpukapuaulu Special Ecological Areas, cultural heritage areas and rare forest habitat for endangered species. A coordinated effort managed to contain the blaze.

Firefighters Extinguish Fire Near Makai Research Pier

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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.”

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. 

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.

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.

Waikoloa Brush Fire Burned Over 18,000 Acres

Amazing work put in by our firefighters who put it all on the line (literally) to protect important places such as Waikoloa Village and the Waikoloa Dry Forest Preserve. This fire will go down as the 2nd largest in Hawaii's modern history, falling short of the 25,000 acre fire in 2005 that burned to the very edge of Waikoloa Village.

Satellite image of the burn area.

Satellite image of the burn area.

Scorched brush is seen after a brush fire moved through Waikoloa. Credit: Bert Horikawa / Hawaii News Now

Scorched brush is seen after a brush fire moved through Waikoloa. Credit: Bert Horikawa / Hawaii News Now

The Hawaii County firefighters reported significant progress Monday morning in battling the Waikoloa brush fire that has been burning since Wednesday.

HFD said the fire was 95 percent contained. The massive wind-whipped brush fire has already scorched nearly 18,000 acres of land so far.

Authorities also report that what remains of the brush fire is away from public roadways, and no closures are in place. 

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 in Kau Grows to 700 Acres

NASA FIRMS map  showing the satellite pickup of hotspots from the fire so far. Orange and red signify different satellites. 

NASA FIRMS map showing the satellite pickup of hotspots from the fire so far. Orange and red signify different satellites. 

A brushfire that started Sunday morning on Keauhou Ranch crossed Mauna Loa Road into Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and is moving west. National Park Service (NPS) firefighters and the County of Hawaii are working to control the blaze, now estimated to be around 700 acres.

The fire is moving west towards Kapāpala Ranch, and is not contained at this time. County of Hawaii fire personnel are also working to suppress the fire outside the park, which was reportedly sparked during repairs to a bulldozer. Firefighters from the Division of Forestry and Wildlife and volunteer firefighters from Volcano also responded.

Strong winds and dry conditions at the fire’s 4,800-foot elevation are making it a challenge to control. No homes or structures are currently at risk, but the fire has scorched native koa forest, which provides important habitat to endangered and endemic species like the Hawaiian hawk and Hawaiian bat.

Maui Brush Fire Scorches 10 acres at Kula Agricultural Park

"Maui firefighters are battling a brush fire in Kula Agriculture Park on Sunday." Credit: Maui Fire Department

"Maui firefighters are battling a brush fire in Kula Agriculture Park on Sunday." Credit: Maui Fire Department

From the Source:

Maui fire officials say that a brush fire on Sunday has scorched 10 acres of land in the area of Pulehu Road near Kula Agriculture Park.

MFD crews responded to the fire at around 2:15 p.m. and arrived to find an active fire in dry brush in the area. Firefighters are having difficulty putting out the fires due to shifting winds, according to officials.

Waikoloa Brush Fire Continues to Burn, Scorching 3,000 acres

"A large fire is blanketing the air in Waikoloa with heavy smoke." Credit: Hawaii News Now

"A large fire is blanketing the air in Waikoloa with heavy smoke." Credit: Hawaii News Now

We are thinking of you, Waikoloa. Be safe and stay aware of your surroundings. A big mahalo to all of the firefighters from county, state, and federal agencies who are working tirelessly to protect the community!

Should an evacuation occur, which is not expected at this time, CERT members would help notify residents to evacuate by going door-to-door and also with a megaphone. However, relying on your own judgment is critical during a fire. If conditions do not look favorable, whether the spread of the fire or ember showers or smoke...leaving early is the best option. 

Here are some helpful resources for you during the fire, but also use these to plan for the next inevitable fire. Waikoloa is one of the most fire-prone regions in the entire state.

How to protect yourself from smoke inhalation during a fire:

http://www.hawaiiwildfire.org/fire-resource-library-blog/air-oasis-family-fire-guides?rq=smoke

Your all-in-one wildfire preparedness guide:

http://www.hawaiiwildfire.org/fire-resource-library-blog/rsg-your-personal-wildland-fire-action-guide

From the Source:

Hawaii Island firefighters are still working to contain a brush fire that burned at least 3,000 acres in Waikoloa on Wednesday.

"Hawaii County Fire is reporting heavy smoke blowing into Waikoloa Village. We ask people to monitor air conditions and if you have respiratory issues please take necessary precautions," officials said. 

While most of the road blocks have been lifted, Waikoloa Road is still closed between Mamalahoa and Paniolo Avenue.

In Greece, Wildfires Kill Dozens, Driving Some Into the Sea

"People watching a wildfire raging on Monday in Rafina, east of Athens." Credit Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters

"People watching a wildfire raging on Monday in Rafina, east of Athens." Credit Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters

We are devastated to hear the tragic news coming out of Greece this week. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. The stark realities of a warming planet and increasing extreme wildfire conditions are making it all the more imperative for us all to take action now to reduce climate-related risks and impacts worldwide.

From the Source:

Fast-moving wildfires near Athens have killed at least 76 people, officials said on Tuesday, and have forced thousands of tourists and residents to flee in cars and buses, on foot, aboard boats and on makeshift rafts. In desperation, some people plunged into the Aegean waters and tried to swim to safety.

Gale-force winds topping 50 miles an hour have fanned a pair of fires that tore through seaside areas popular with travelers, leaving behind a trail of charred resorts, burned-out cars and smoldering farms, and wrapping the region in a pall of smoke. Officials said that at least 187 people were injured, including 23 children.

The extreme conditions are in line with patterns that scientists attribute to climate change. Heat waves can be linked to climate change in several ways: Increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hold more of the sun’s heat, raising temperatures globally. A hotter climate in turn changes the way air and ocean currents move around the planet, which can further increase temperatures in certain places, like the Mediterranean.

Brush Fire Scorches 122 Acres Near Punaluu Beach Park in Kau

A brush fire near Punaluu Beach shut down both directions of Highway 11. Credit: Kekuiapoiwa Mills-Bredeson/Facebook

A brush fire near Punaluu Beach shut down both directions of Highway 11. Credit: Kekuiapoiwa Mills-Bredeson/Facebook

From the Source:

A brush fire scorched more than 100 acres and forced the closure of Highway 11 on Tuesday in the area of Punaluu Beach Park.

The fire, which broke out some time after midnight Tuesday, burned approximately 122 acres between Ninole Loop, Highway 11 and Sea Mountain Golf Course in Ka‘u, Hawaii Fire Department Battalion Chief Darwin Okinaka told West Hawaii Today.

3 Brush Fires Started by Fireworks Along Highway 190

"A Hawaii County firefighter douses a brush fire off Highway 190 near mile marker 18 Friday afternoon." Laura Ruminski / West Hawaii Today

"A Hawaii County firefighter douses a brush fire off Highway 190 near mile marker 18 Friday afternoon." Laura Ruminski / West Hawaii Today

Mahalo to the good Samaritan who put out the first fire -- keeping a fire extinguisher in your vehicle is highly recommended. 

The Hawaii Police Department said it is investigating the fires and thinks fireworks started the blazes.

Anyone with information or who might have witnessed the fires being started is urged to call Detective Carrie Akina at 326-4646, ext. 277.


From the Source:

Fireworks appear to have sparked three brush fires reported within an hour Friday that forced a road closure on Highway 190 near Puuanahulu.

The blazes were ignited at mile markers 18, 21 and 26, starting shortly after 11 a.m., according to Hawaii Fire Department officials.

The first was put out by Stafford Lombard, who was driving by on his way to Hilo.

Fire officials say Lombard got out of his car and used a fire extinguisher. The driver of a cement mixer truck stopped to assist and smothered the remaining flames with a hose. Firefighters came and mopped up.

Honokai Hale Brush Fire Brought Farrington Highway to a Halt

From the Source:

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"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."

Brush Fire Scorches 50 Acres, Shuts Down Highway in Wahiawa

Click above to view video.

Click above to view video.

Don't let the green grass deceive you! Even during the "wet season," wildfires can ignite and spread quickly. Stay alert and have a plan. Make sure to keep those grasses and weeds that are growing with all the rain away from your house. Learn more by checking out the Ready, Set, Go! Wildland Fire Action Guide.

From the Source:

"All the traffic going the other way, so we can sit in traffic going back and try to get through Waialua or we can sit here and at least see what's going on," motorist Leslie Maxwell said. 

The fire burned pretty close to the edge of Kamehameha Highway. Because of the wind conditions, fire officials were worried the fire was going to jump the road.

"The trade winds were going this way when we first arrived on scene, so the perimeter along Kamehameha Highway was burning. It was in danger of jumping Kamehameha Highway, but the wind shifted and it started burning the opposite direction so it worked in our favor," Battalion Chief Paul Kato said.

Fire officials say several abandoned vehicles and debris within homeless camps in the area were damaged in the fire.  

How California's Record Wildfire Season Paved the Way for Catastrophic Mudslides

"Santa Barbara County Fire search dog Reilly looks for people trapped in the debris left by devastating mudslides in Montecito, California." Credit: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire

"Santa Barbara County Fire search dog Reilly looks for people trapped in the debris left by devastating mudslides in Montecito, California." Credit: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire

As we keep all those affected by the mudslides and flooding in California in our thoughts, we should note that post-fire flooding can impact islands in the Pacific, as well. The characteristics that lead to these events are similar whether in California or in Hawaii.

From the Source:

"Also called post-fire debris flows, these mudslides form when water rushing down slopes picks up dirt, burnt trees, rocks, and other debris (like cars), reaching speeds of more than 35 miles per hour. “When you mix a lot of mud, water, and boulders, it certainly can be quite catastrophic,” says Dennis Staley, a scientist with the US Geological Survey Landslide Hazards Program. The slurries can start with almost no warning after as little as a third of an inch of rain in just 30 minutes — especially on slopes scorched by fires. After fires blazed across more than half a million acres this fall in California’s worst fire season on record, it’s not hard to find burnt land."

Fire makes slopes more susceptible to mudslides for a few reasons, according to climate scientist Daniel Swain’s Weather West blog. For one thing, flames can strip hillsides of plants that would otherwise anchor the dirt in place. Extreme fires that burn through thick vegetation can also physically change the soil — leaving behind a layer of water-repellant dirt near the surface. That layer acts like a raincoat, slicking off water that can then form mudslides, according to the USGS California Water Science Center.

Plus, without plants to slow the rain before it reaches the dirt, the soil can’t absorb as much water — leaving more to race down hillsides as runoff. Imagine the soil as coffee grounds in a filter: if you pour your boiling water slowly, it will soak into the grounds and drip through into your cup. But if you dump your boiling water all at once, a watery, muddy slurry will overflow. That’s what’s happening on the bare slopes of Southern California right now."

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."

Family Behind Hawaiian Fire-Throwing Ritual Apologizes for Brush Fire

Makana Fire. Photo Credit: Richard Berry / KFVE

Makana Fire. Photo Credit: Richard Berry / KFVE

We commend the family who accidentally ignited the fire for taking the courage and responsibility for publically apologizing for their actions. We deeply respect that reviving ancient cultural practices is important, but it is still critical to be aware of your surroundings and dry/windy conditions whether building an imu or practicing ʻOahi O Makana. Vegetation and climate conditions have changed drastically over the centuries (even more so in the past few decades). Many wet forests were once ecosystems covered with native forests that had very few wildfire occurrences if any. However, much of these forests have been taken over by much more fire-prone, invasive species and have experienced more and more days of drier conditions than before. We must continue to adapt to these changing conditions whether it is through vegetation control methods or cultural practices, etc. This fire will hopefully continue these important conversations. We are interested to hear your thoughts. Please share your comments below.

From the Source:

"'It wasn't an intention to start anything to hurt anybody or to stop any roads. There was never that intention. If that happened on behalf of the family we apologize,' McCarthy said.

Ancient Hawaiians held the ceremony to mark great occasions and special ceremonies.

'This is something they mentally, physically have to prepare themselves for,' McCarthy said.

The pair carried Hau branches to light, twirl and throw. McCarthy thinks wind grabbed the embers and blew them back onto the mountain."