Maui News

Two Fires Burning in Separate West O’ahu Forest Reserves

August 6, 2018, 12:32 AM HST
* Updated August 6, 1:36 AM
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Two Fires Burning in Separate West O’ahu Forest Reserves. PC: Hawaiʻi DLNR

Thirty DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife firefighters continue battling a 1,500 acre wildfire in the Wai‘anae Kai Forest Reserve which started Saturday morning around 10.

The Honolulu Fire Department requested DOFAW assistance and at 2 p.m. on Saturday, crews dispatched a helicopter for water drops, 18 firefighters and three engines to battle the fire burning in the northwest part of the forest reserve. In addition to the 30 firefighters on Sunday, there are three DLNR/DOFAW contracted helicopters and three engines on the scene.

The second fire, involving lands under DOFAW jurisdiction, is burning across hundreds of acres, in the Mākua Kea‘au Forest Reserve. DOFAW fire managers asked DLNR Chair Suzanne Case to request assistance from the U.S. Army.

The fire is threatening a natural resource unit that the Army has invested in; chiefly a fence that protects a rare and endangered native Hibiscus species. This fire was reported as 1.5 miles from the Mākua Military Reserve and traveling toward it. Army leadership responded to the DLNR request immediately and is currently using a contract helicopter to do water drops and has ordered up four Black Hawk helicopters.

All available DOFAW firefighting assets are engaged in fighting the Wai‘anae Kai Forest Reserve fire and are not currently able to provide additional assets in the Mākua Kea‘au Forest Reserve.

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DLNR Chair Case said, “We are grateful for the Army’s swift and major response to provide contract and military aircraft and ground resources to manage the aerial firefight at Mākua Kea‘au. This is a prime example of the interagency cooperation, using a unified command system that goes into action quickly and efficiently when wildland fires threaten homes, people and natural resources.”

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Gov. David Ige visited the Incident Command Center in Wai‘anae last night. Mahalo to the firefighters from the state, county and Army who are working in tough conditions to protect lives and homes,” he said.

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