Makakilo brushfire causes evacuation of homes

Photo courtesy Terry Reis

Firefighting crews both on the ground and in the air are trying to contain an out-of-control brushfire Saturday that began yesterday afternoon in Makakilo.

An aerial survey was done at first light to assess the damage from a fire that threatened nearly two dozen homes in Makakilo.

Fire companies had trucks at the ready at those evacuated homes as a precaution. One home on Umena Street reportedly had some minor damage.

The Hawaii Red Cross had opened an emergency shelter at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Makakilo Community Park, but has since been closed as of Saturday morning.

Close to 20 firefighting units — both city and federal — battled the fire that was first reported around 3:40 p.m. Friday.

The fire is still not under control — smoke is still visible miles away — and is burning on the mountainside in upper Makakilo.

The brushfire has been burning steadily since about 3:30 p.m. Friday. It caused evacuations of residents who live on Palehua Road near Camp Timberline.

Brushfires are not uncommon in the area.

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen,” said long-time resident Kathy Davenport.

The smoke could be seen from miles away.

There were worried and anxious residents, like the Tuzon family who live on Umena Street.

“Basically the fire first went up this ridge when I got home, and the fire continued up this ridge,” Radley Tuzon said. “Even though they stopped it from going forward, it went further up the mountain.”

On the other end of the street are the gates to Camp Timberline and Palehua. Steve Myers lives up there on Palehua Road and can’t get home.

“I’m pretty worried. I got a home up there, so I am hoping it is not damaged or anything like that,” said Myers.

Fellow road resident Gloria Rezentes wasn’t allowed to go home either.

“I’m hoping our house won’t get on fire because our house is below it,” she said. “It is not that close, but you never know.”

About 20 homes in all on Palehua were evacuated.

And as day turned to night, it became more apparent what parts of the mountain were still being eaten away by flames.

“Right now, the homes that are threatened are on Palehua Road,” said Honolulu Fire Captain David Jenkins. “We have much of the fire trucks to fight the fire and protect those structures. Most important, we want to make sure the people are safe, so we are evacuating to keep them safe.”

For now, Jenkins said Camp Timberline was not in danger.

As for the homes on Palehua Road, residents are hoping and praying for the best.

There is no official word yet on what started the fire.

No one was injured.

Photo courtesy Terry Reis
Photo courtesy Terry Reis
Photo courtesy Radley Tuzon
Photo courtesy Radley Tuzon
Photo courtesy Radley Tuzon
Photo courtesy Radley Tuzon
Photo courtesy Laura Fam
Photo courtesy Laura Fam
Photo courtesy Radley Tuzon
Photo courtesy Radley Tuzon
Photo courtesy Miguel Gonzalez
Photo courtesy Miguel Gonzalez

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