Fire Encroaches into Wai‘anae Reserve on O‘ahu

June 6, 2012, 7:23 AM HST · Updated June 6, 7:24 AM
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DLNR Fire personnel monitor the wildfire today in Waianae Kai Forest Reserve. Photo by Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

By Wendy Osher

Wildfire crews from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources are responding to a large fire that has encroached into the edges of the Wai‘anae Kai Forest Reserve on O‘ahu.

Crews are trying to keep the fire from reaching the top of the ridge where endangered plants and native tree snails are found.

The Reserve includes 2,328 acres of native dryland forest, including native koa, sandalwood, and ‘a‘ali‘i.

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As of this morning, Hawaii News Now was reporting that the blaze had charred a total of 1,200 acres.

Firefighters utilized helicopter water drops to reach inaccessible terrain in the mountains, and continue to deal with gusty wind conditions today.

“Forest fire in Hawai‘i is a major threat to our natural resources,” said Guy Kaulukukui, DLNR Deputy Director.

“A forest fire not only puts surrounding communities in danger, but also the many components of a forest ecosystem.  The State of Hawai‘i is home to some of nation’s rarest and most endangered species populations, many of which occur in areas susceptible to fire threat. We ask all communities to help protect our native forests by practicing fire safety and quickly reporting any fire sighting,” he said.

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