Wildfire season poses extra danger for parts of Hawaii

Fire Trucks

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The dry season is near and there are dangers that go with it — mainly wildfires.

Dry brush can spread quickly and cause all types of damage, putting lives and property in danger.

The spring rains have kept Kauai and Oahu fairly green, so the other half of the state is currently more at risk

“For places that are drought stricken say on Maui County and the Big Island, they’re gonna dry out very fast in June. Dry season will settle in pretty quickly and vegetation will dry out very quickly,” National Weather Service meteorologist Derek Wroe said.

The dry season will come to Kauai and Oahu… just a little later. So, it’s important that all residents take the necessary precautions.

Those who live near fire-prone areas are asked to clear the brush and leaves surrounding their property to stop the flames from spreading and to help firefighters do their job.

“We recommend 30 feet if they can clear the grass and leaves and brush from their homes. That would help us as well,” Honolulu Fire Department Chief Manuel Neves said.

It takes an all out effort with firefighters from the city, state, and federal agencies to battle wildfires. In some cases, even firefighters with the U.S. Army are called out to hike in remote areas.

All agencies point out that the rest of the community needs to pitch in so firefighters can battle the blaze sooner rather than later.

“If we can get the early notification combined with the aggressive initial attack, we can keep the fire small we can keep the fire manageable. We can keep our guys from having to go in the real remote areas on the island,” said Scott Yamasaki of the U.S. Army Wildlife Fire Division.

In many cases, wildfires are caused by human carelessness with campfires or they are maliciously set. Residents are asked to be on the lookout and report fires right away.

In addition to lives and property, raging wildfires can also destroy the watershed and other precious natural resources.

“Fire comes in burns everything under, soil gets exposed, heavy rains come or high winds runs all that soil into the ocean. So it affects even our marine environment out there,” Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife Administrator Roger Imoto said.

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