Brush fires fanned by high winds burn in East Oahu

Video still courtesy Jeffrey Yu

Honolulu firefighters were busy Saturday as they battled two brush fires in an area in east Oahu.

The flames were fanned by high winds and over 20 fire companies with around 50 personnel dealt with the afternoon fire.

The first smaller morning fire ignited just across from Sandy Beach, temporarily shutting down traffic on Kalanianaole Highway, but it eventually was extinguished around 10 a.m.

The second fire ignited after 12 noon in Hawaii Kai and got pretty close to some homes in the area.

Thick smoke billowed in the afternoon sky as firefighters tried to extinguish the flames near Koko Crater.

Hawaii Kai resident Rob Centra said “I was in my kitchen and I looked out and everything was a little bit foggy. I went out in the backyard and noticed the smoke. I could smell it and I came out front and that’s when everything registered what was going on.”

Fellow resident Donna Norton said the flames were enormous, “leaping well above the trees.”

The HFD had boots on the ground and eyes in the sky as crews tried to get the blaze under control. Air 1 dropped water over the flames but it had some trouble navigating around as the copter had to deal with drones trying to capture video footage of the fire.

There were tense moments for homeowners, with one house just feet away from the scorched ground. Firefighters were stationed nearby to safeguard homes.

HFD Capt. David Jenkins said the fire quickly grew “with the winds being variable and blowing in different directions, causing some impact on the fire.”

The fire was called contained at approximately 3:45 p.m. No homes were damaged or directly threatened by the fire, and there were no evacuation of residents.

Jenkins did say that the fire did go up and into Koko Crater and the stables were evacuated. None of the horses were injured.

The afternoon fire has been estimated to burn around 60 acres. HFD personnel are still on scene extinguishing hot spots.

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