Large brushfires can have many impacts outside of just land area burned: homes are at risk, flights can be cancelled, animal shelters can be in danger, even from just smoke inhalation. That is exactly what happened during a large 2,000-plus acre wildfire in Waimea. Our brave firefighters were able to keep damage to a minimum during the wildfire and help from Humane Society volunteers ensured animals were kept safe from the flames and smoke. Community is more important than ever during times like these. We thank community members and firefighters for their efforts. A great way to honor our firefighters (and fire prevention and mitigation efforts) will be the Firefighter Chili Cook-Off in Waimea. Come join us -- we could use your help especially after scares like these.
"'We could see a lot of smoke going into the sky,' Carlos said. 'And we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, what is that?’ And the closer we got to Waimea town, we could see it was really close to town.'
The fire prompted Hawaii Island Humane Society to evacuate its Waimea shelter Friday afternoon.
Director Donna Whitaker said in an email that volunteers removed 55 animals from the shelter. They were taken into the care of community members, staff and volunteers."
"The Waimea-Kohala Airport closed its runway Friday as a precaution, airport manager Tim Hand said when contacted at about 2 p.m. The closure was expected to remain in place until 10 p.m. Hand said the airport also had received several phone calls."
"Police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating witnesses to the start of the fire. The investigation is being continued by the Area II Criminal Investigation Section. They are asking anyone with information to call Detective Dominic Uyetake at 326-4646, ext. 228, or email him at Dominic.Uyetake@hawaiicounty.gov. They also can call the Police Department’s nonemergency line at 935-3311.
Those who want to remain anonymous can call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and might be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000."