1. #1
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    Post Hawaii Wildfires

    HONOLULU (AP) - A conservation group and state forestry
    officials aided firefighters Monday in efforts to contain a brush
    fire that has burned since last week on the slopes of the Waianae
    Mountains on Leeward Oahu, officials said.
    A spokesman for the Honolulu Fire Department said authorities
    were hopeful the blaze, which has burned about 220 acres, could be
    contained by late Monday.
    "They haven't really called it contained, but it's not
    spreading," said Capt. Kenison Tejada.
    He said a 500-gallon portable water tank that was brought to the
    site Sunday was helping firefighters douse hot spots and other
    areas that are smoldering.
    "It's mostly a lot of tree stumps smoldering out there,"
    Tejada said.
    The fire, which is burning near the Nature Conservancy's
    Honouliuli Preserve in Kunia, began July 14. Authorities said the
    blaze was believed to be sparked by children playing with fire.
    Officials said the Nature Conservancy and wildlife experts from
    the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife plan to conduct a
    preliminary biological survey of the damaged area
    "We will be mapping the burn area and checking for visible
    damage to sensitive native species and their habitats," Nature
    Conservancy spokeswoman Pauline Sato said in a news release.
    Meanwhile, Army officials said preparations were still being
    made Monday for a controlled burn to clear brush at Schofield
    Barracks' West Range Training Area, also known as McCarthy Flats.
    The controlled burn, scheduled for this week, involves 1,300
    acres of brush being cleared by Army fire specialists to reduce the
    risk of wild fires from training and other fire threats, the Army
    said.
    Last year, the Army acknowledged that it mismanaged a controlled
    burn of 900 acres that raged out of control in Makua Valley and
    scorched more than half of the training range's 4,200 acres.
    After demanding that the Army take better care of the land or
    face a lawsuit, preservation groups later reached an agreement to
    allow live-fire training at Makua without the use of artillery
    shells and mortars.

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    Post May 2005

    NANAKULI, Hawaii (AP) - A brush fire that scorched 1,700 acres
    in Nanakuli and Lualualei valleys on Oahu was contained early
    Friday, while a fire on the Big Island burned more than 900 acres
    near South Point, fire officials said.
    The brush fire on the Big Island began in an open pasture area
    Thursday afternoon, according to Hawaii County fire officials, who
    had about 10 firefighters working to contain the blaze Friday.
    On Oahu, the Nanakuli fire that began Tuesday afternoon and
    crept into Lualualei Valley on Thursday was declared contained at 4
    a.m., said Capt. Emmit Kane, spokesman for the Honolulu Fire
    Department.
    About 25 firefighters hiked into Nanakuli Valley on foot Friday,
    working with picks, shovels, chain saws and water packs to put out
    the remainder of the fire and stop any flare-ups, Kane said. The
    department's helicopter assisted with water drops.
    The fire is the largest so far on Oahu this year, said Kane.
    Hawaii's brush fire season typically starts around the end of
    May or beginning of June, and runs through the end of September. So
    far there have been more than 200 fires this year, he said.
    "It's a little unsettling because it's early on in the
    season," Kane said. "Last year this time we had about 100, so
    we're up to two times as many."
    The Nature Conservancy said the Nanakuli fire was threatening
    some 60 species of endangered native Hawaiian plants and animals in
    its 3,582-acre Honouliuli Preserve in the Waianae Mountains, but
    Kane said the fire had not encroached upon the habitat as of Friday
    morning.
    Kane said fire officials suspect the Nanakuli fire's origin is
    suspicious and are working with police to find who many have
    started it. He said a resident of the area reported seeing two
    youths running from the scene Tuesday afternoon after the blaze
    started.
    Federal firefighters were working to contain the blaze in
    Lualualei Valley, which burned about 70 acres, he said.
    No structures were threatened by the fires, but state education
    officials closed the public schools in Nanakuli on Thursday because
    of smoke from the fire.

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    Post

    By JEANNETTE J. LEE
    Associated Press Writer
    HONOLULU (AP) - A 13-year-old boy who allegedly set a cemetery
    blaze last week, spawning a major brush fire that charred 3,000
    acres in Nanakuli, was no more mischievous than his fellow
    students, school officials said Friday.
    The unidentified boy, a seventh grader at Nanakuli High and
    Intermediate School, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of
    second-degree criminal property damage and later released to his
    parents without charges.
    If charged and convicted, the teen could be kept in a juvenile
    facility until he is 18.
    School officials have asked the boy's parents to keep him at
    home for the rest of the academic year because the teen could face
    heckling or other retaliation from students.
    But reaction to the arrest has been subdued around campus. Most
    of the older students are accustomed to brush fires, which flare up
    almost every year in the area, and the accused teen isn't
    well-known on campus, school administrators said.
    "The joke on the Leeward Coast is 'When's the brush fire's
    going to start up?"' Principal Levi Chang said. "Nobody's really
    talking about it. We're just glad it's over." He said the boy was
    not especially troublesome and "fit right in with his peers."
    Meanwhile, the boy's former elementary school is abuzz with
    gossip about him and students seemed more affected emotionally by
    the situation.
    "The rumors are rampant," said Wendy Takahashi, principal of
    Nanakuli Elementary.
    She said the boy wasn't a major troublemaker.
    "He was a little bit rascal, but it wasn't like he was the
    worst kid," Takahashi said.
    Honolulu police Chief Boisse Correa said the young student acted
    alone.
    Police have increased surveillance in the area to nab any
    would-be arsonists.
    The brush fires, which spread from a cemetery at the back of
    Nanakuli Valley, threatened homes, schools and about 60 rare
    indigenous animals and plants.
    Several firefighters were injured as they rotated in and out of
    the fiery brush and rocky terrain, fire officials said, and fire
    protection across the island was stretched dangerously thin.
    On some days, the department had 22 fire companies, or half of
    its resources, on the scene at once, said Honolulu Fire Chief
    Attilio Leonardi. The department had to deploy more than 100
    firefighters to Nanakuli on the worst days.
    "It thinned out resources for the rest of the island," said
    Captain Kennison Tejada. "In the case of medical emergencies or
    certain fires where the minutes are crucial, there would have been
    at least a few minutes delay."
    The department spent about $15,000 extra in overtime and meals.
    Vehicle repair will cost another several thousand dollars, Tejada
    estimated. Much of the money spent to fight the fires was part of
    the department's budget.
    The city attorney will decide if he will pursue restitution from
    the boy's family, Tejada said.
    The brush fires flared up on May 10 and took nine days for
    firefighters to extinguish. It was the largest brush fire in Hawaii
    this year.
    Brush fires spiked this year on Oahu as hot spring weather dried
    out plants that had grown thick and high during the unusually wet
    winter. More than 200 brush fires were reported as of May 12,
    compared with 89 reported the same time last year, the fire
    department said.

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    Post August 2nd 2005

    WAIKOLOA, Hawaii (AP) - Nearly 5,000 people were ordered to
    evacuate their homes and the only road connecting this town to the
    rest of the Big Island was closed as a spreading brush fire
    approached, officials said.
    No injuries were reported and officials had not confirmed
    whether any structures had burned, Hawaii County Fire Capt. Felix
    Asia said.
    The evacuation order was in effect for 75 percent of the town's
    6,500 residents, Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency acting
    administrator Lanny Nakano said. Officials turned a community
    center and elementary school into evacuation centers, while a local
    resort opened its ballroom to evacuees and another school offered
    dorm rooms.
    Yuki Potter said she packed up her valuables and left Tuesday
    afternoon when the smoke got too bad. She said several of her
    neighbors were expecting to stay at resorts and hotels where they
    work.
    "My eyes were stinging and it was really smoky, really black
    and really close to the village," she said from a friend's home in
    nearby Kona.
    Linda Harlow told The Honolulu Advertiser that she had little
    warning before the order came.
    "We back up to a natural area and it was burning right outside
    our home," she said. "People were trying to grab what they could.
    We had like five minutes."
    The fire was burning out of control Tuesday evening, consuming
    more than 25,000 acres along the Kohala Coast on the west side of
    the island. The only road connecting the village to the rest of the
    island was closed and parents were asked to pick up their children
    from school because buses weren't allowed through the area.
    Schools outside the town were asked to keep students from
    Waikoloa until it was safe for them to return.
    Nearly 150 county and federal personnel were working through the
    night to battle the blaze, with the help of four helicopters and
    eight bulldozers, Nakano said.
    The evacuation order came after the Federal Emergency Management
    Agency approved a request from Gov. Linda Lingle for a disaster
    declaration in the area. The declaration will make federal funding
    available to pay part of the state's firefighting costs.
    The blaze started Monday as a small brush fire, Battalion Chief
    Curtis Matsui said.
    Meanwhile, in Washington state, officials said residents of
    about 75 homes who had evacuated Monday when a wildfire closed in
    would be allowed to return home Wednesday.
    However, residents of another 70 homes were under notice that
    they might have to evacuate in the area near Lake Wenatchee in
    central Washington, where a blaze has burned nearly 1,000 acres. No
    injuries have been reported.
    Large fires also were active Tuesday in Alaska, California,
    Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Utah, the
    National Interagency Fire Center reported. So far this year,
    wildfires have charred 4.7 million acres, compared with 5.5 million
    at the same time last year, the center said.
    ---
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    Post August 3rd

    HONOLULU (AP) - A brush fire on Wednesday burned about 200 to
    300 acres of land in Makua Valley, the Army reported.
    Training at the Makua Military Reservation wasn't being
    conducted at the time the blaze was discovered by Army civilian
    workers, officials said. The cause of the fire was under
    investigation.
    There were no initial reports of injuries or damage to
    archaeological sites, endangered species, property or equipment,
    the Army said.
    Army environmental and cultural staff members will conduct a
    survey as soon as it is deemed safe to enter the burned area,
    officials said.
    The blaze was fought by Army, federal and Honolulu firefighters.
    Helicopters from Wheeler Army Air Field were called on to drop
    water on the flames.
    "We take our responsibility for the environmental and cultural
    assets in the Makua Valley very seriously and we responded quickly
    with our helicopters to contain the fire," said Maj. Gen. Benjamin
    R. Mixon, commander of the 25th Infantry Division (Light) and U.S.
    Army, Hawaii.
    Two years ago, a massive fire planned by the Army as a
    controlled burn went out of control and blackened more than half
    the valley.

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    Post August 3rd

    WAIKOLOA, Hawaii (AP) - Nearly 5,000 people ordered to flee
    their homes because of a huge brush fire on Hawaii's Big Island
    were allowed to return, finding their property dusted with a layer
    of ash but otherwise undamaged.
    In spite of authorities' reopening the area, Waikoloa Village
    appeared all but abandoned Wednesday as National Guard helicopters
    joined local firefighters in trying to contain the massive blaze in
    its third day.
    "This is like a ghost town today," said Kris Kosa-Correia,
    principal of Waikoloa Elementary School, where scores of evacuees
    found temporary refuge.
    The principal checked on her residence Wednesday morning to find
    the fire had scorched undergrowth up to 20 feet (six meters) from
    her door and left ash inside the condominium.
    Fire crews continued trying to contain the blaze, which had
    charred more than 25,000 acres (10,000 hectares) along the Kohala
    Coast on the west side of the island.
    The evacuation order had affected 75 percent of the town's 6,500
    residents, said Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency acting
    administrator Lanny Nakano. Officials turned a community center and
    elementary school into evacuation centers, a resort opened its
    ballroom to evacuees and another school offered dorm rooms.
    The blaze started Monday as a small brush fire.
    Elsewhere on the island, another fire jumped Akoni Pule Highway
    and had burned more than 2,000 acres (800 hectares), including a
    2-square-mile (5.12-square-kilometer) tract on one side of the
    road, and down toward the ocean on the other.
    County officials used bulldozers, helicopters and ground crews
    to contain the flames. One house had been threatened, but
    firefighters were able to cut a fire break around it, Fire Chief
    Darryl Oliviera said.
    On the mainland, officials in Washington state said residents of
    about 75 homes who had evacuated Monday when a wildfire closed in
    were allowed to return home Wednesday.
    However, the returnees and residents of 70 other homes were
    under notice that they might have to evacuate again in the area
    near Lake Wenatchee in central Washington. The blaze had charred
    nearly 1,000 acres (400 hectares) and was only 20 percent
    contained.
    Large fires also were active Wednesday in Alaska, California,
    Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Utah, the
    National Interagency Fire Center reported. So far this year,
    wildfires have charred 4.7 million acres (1.88 million hectares),
    compared with 5.5 million acres ( 2.2 million hectares) at the same
    time last year, the center said.
    ---
    On the Net:
    National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov/

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    Default August 15th

    HONOLULU (AP) - The only public roadway into and out of the
    Waianae Coast was closed for several hours Monday morning as smoke
    from a brush fire forced the closure of a section of Farrington
    Highway.
    The Army helped out by opening Kolekole Pass to civilian traffic
    before the highway was reopened shortly before noon.
    The blaze that began Sunday in Nanakuli Valley from an arcing
    electric transmission line led education officials to close
    Nanakuli High and Intermediate School.
    About 25 percent of the Honolulu Fire Department's daily
    staffing of 300 firefighters responded to the blaze, but steep,
    rocky terrain made it hard to reach by ground crews.
    "The thing about this fire is a lot of it is in areas that we
    cannot actually reach just yet," department spokesman Capt.
    Kenison Tejada said.
    The Army supplied four helicopters that dropped water on the
    flames that covered about 2,000 acres.
    "We are committed not only to our partnership with island fire
    departments, but also with providing for the safety of our
    neighbors on the Waianae Coast," said Army Col. Howard J. Killian,
    commander of U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii.
    Firefighters were concerned flames might burn into the forested
    area of Palehua Ridge.
    "If it becomes a forest fire, we're going to need double or
    triple the manpower," Tejada said.
    No structures were burned, and Tejada said crews were confident
    they could keep the flames away from buildings.
    No evacuations were ordered, but residents affected by the smoke
    were being advised to leave the area, Honolulu Fire Department
    spokesman Capt. Emmit Kane said.
    Oahu Civil Defense spokesman John Cummings said Camp Timberline
    along Palehua Road was closed and eight staff members were forced
    to leave the area Sunday night.

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    Hawaiian Brushfire Scorches Nankuli Forest Reserve

    HONOLULU, Hawaii, August 19, 2005 (ENS) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency Thursday authorized the use of federal funds to help Hawaii fight the Nanakuli Brush Fire burning near the west Oahu communities of Nanakuli and Palehua.

    Michael Brown, under secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, said the state’s request for federal fire management assistance was approved after it was confirmed that the fire was threatening 100 homes in Nanakuli and 50 in Palehua, with preparations under way for possible evacuations.

    The fire also resulted in the evacuation of the Camp Timberline youth camp, a military solar observatory, the Maunakapu Communications site, as well as the Kahi Power plant and power lines.

    The fire, which started on August 14, has burned 2,850 acres and is considered 20 percent contained. This fire is 16 miles west of Honolulu. A power plant, the community of Palehua, and a nature preserve are currently threatened. Steep terrain is limiting access to the fire.

    “With this latest wildfire threatening Nanakuli and Palehua, our commitment to the people of Hawaii remains strong,” said Brown. “FEMA will continue to support our state and local partners this wildfire season.”

    The authorization makes FEMA funding available to pay 75 percent of the state’s eligible firefighting costs under an approved grant for managing, mitigating and controlling designated fires.

    The fire has burned native endangered plants, including three of only four native gardenia plants that remain in the wild. They were growing in the Nanakuli Forest Reserve, which burned on Tuesday. The fourth plant is still alive.

    The fire is believed to have displaced Hawaiian short-eared owls that have been living in the area.

    The burned areas are likely to be overtaken by guinea grass, a common invasive weed that was introduced in the mid-1800s as a failed cattle feed experiment.

    So far this year, a record 700 brushfires have charred Oahu, the island where Honolulu is located, but most burned far to the west of the city.

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    Post September 5th, 2006

    Firefighters finish off Maui wildfire
    MAALAEA, Hawaii (AP) - Firefighters reported they had contained
    more than half of a 4,000-acre brush fire in the West Maui
    mountains that prompted evacuations and closed down a highway.
    Fire crews will continue to mop up hot spots through Tuesday,
    said Maui County spokeswoman Ellen Pelissero.
    "There's plenty of hot spots, but they are all in the black,"
    already-burned areas, said Deputy Fire Chief Neal Bal.
    The blaze started on Friday, stranding thousands of motorists
    and forcing some into shelters in Kahului and Lahaina. Businesses
    and residents were forced to evacuate, but most returned by Sunday.
    There were no reports of injuries or structures threatened by
    the fire, but two helicopters were diverted from the area of the
    fire as a safety precaution, Pelissero said.
    Most of the mountainous region is only accessible by helicopter,
    complicating firefighting efforts.
    Emergency workers used at least seven helicopters over the
    weekend to fight the blaze, including one Blackhawk and one Chinook
    provided by the Hawaii Air National Guard. They dumped water onto
    the flames at the top of the mountain.
    Firefighters dug trenches to keep the fire at bay and used water
    or foam to suppress the flames, Bal said.
    Another brush fire was reported Sunday near a polo field off
    Haleakala Highway, and two helicopters were diverted to put out
    that blaze before it could get out of hand, Pelissero said.
    It was extinguished in about a half an hour.
    The fire had periodically shut down Honoapiilani Highway when
    the flames were threatening the road, but all roads were reopened
    by Monday.
    ---
    Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com

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    Post August 13th

    WAIALUA, Hawaii (AP) - Firefighters on Monday evening were
    trying to contain a raging wildfire on Oahu's North Shore that
    earlier forced the temporary evacuation of several homes.
    The wind-whipped wildfire, which started around 2 p.m. Sunday,
    had burned more than 3 square miles and damaged some farm equipment
    and power lines. But no injuries were reported and no structures
    were damaged.
    At one point, at least 20 Honolulu fire companies were being
    assisted by federal firefighters.
    Hawaiian Electric Co. spokeswoman Janet Crawford said power to
    1,130 customers was cut off in the area Sunday evening at the
    request of fire officials.
    Ocean Time Warner said it was replacing 5,000 feet of burned
    fiber optics cable.
    Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Terry Seelig on Monday
    said crews were trying to contain the fire near the Poamoho farm
    area as well as put out hot spots in Waialua.
    The fire started off Kamehameha Highway near the road to
    Helemano Military Reservation. It spread westward toward Kaukonahua
    Road, forcing the closure of the roadway.
    The American Red Cross opened up a shelter Sunday at Waialua
    District Park community center but moved it to Whitmore Community
    Park after the power went out.
    About 25 adults and children were at the Waialua shelter, but no
    one showed up at the Whitmore shelter since residents were allowed
    back in their homes at about 9:30 p.m.
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    Post August 15th

    Stubborn wildfire continues to burn
    HONOLULU (AP) - Crews battling a wildfire on the North Shore
    began to get a handle Wednesday on Oahu's largest brush fire of the
    year.
    The blaze that broke out Sunday was 45 percent contained,
    according to Capt. Terry Seelig, a spokesman for the Honolulu Fire
    Department.
    "The wind is still strong like yesterday, if not a little more
    gusty, but we've done good perimeter containment," Seelig said.
    "There's still some areas that they're working on and they still
    have to concentrate on hot spots, because left unattended those can
    flare up and still travel even though there's less fuel for them to
    burn."
    The blaze that moved onto Schofield Barracks on Tuesday covered
    more than 10 square miles.
    Smoke and ash from the fire drifted over the Waianae Mountains,
    forcing the closure of Waianae High School and Makaha Elementary
    School on Wednesday. But the schools were to reopen Thursday, the
    Department of Education said.
    No injuries were reported and no structures had been burned, but
    farmers said their losses will be in the millions of dollars.
    "You feel for the farmers, for ranchers. That's their
    livelihood. That's what keeps them going," Mayor Mufi Hannemann
    said during an inspection tour. "So we obviously are going to have
    to help them regroup."
    As many as 130 civilian and military firefighters battled the
    blaze with the help of five helicopters.
    The city and state will be eligible for federal funds to cover
    much of the cost of fighting the fire.
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    Post Time for NJ to head west.....aloha!

    HONOLULU (AP) - Gov. Linda Lingle on Thursday declared a fire
    emergency in Hawaii, noting state and city/county firefighters have
    battled nine wildfires on four islands covering 18,500 acres since
    July 1.
    Lingle signed a proclamation as fire crews on Oahu fought three
    brush fires, including one in Waialua that has blackened 6,700
    acres since it broke out Sunday.
    Thursday also saw the start of a wildfire on the Big Island that
    led Hawaii County Civil Defense to order the evacuation of 40 homes
    in the Kamuela View Estates subdivision in Kohala. Residents were
    allowed to return to their homes four hours later.
    The proclamation authorizes the use of the Hawaii National Guard
    to assist civilian authorities in disaster relief and in averting
    imminent public danger.
    With the proclamation, the state loan program for farmers was
    activated and commercial and personal loans were made available
    through a state program.
    The Waialua wildfire was declared 80 percent contained Thursday
    as flames failed to advance along the perimeter.
    "We've got the department's two helicopters as well as three
    engine companies and two tankers on the ground this morning
    concentrating on flare-ups and hot spots," Honolulu Fire
    Department Capt. Frank Johnson said.
    Firefighters expected to spend another night at the blaze, he
    said.
    On the Big Island, county, state and federal firefighters
    battled the Kohala blaze that burned about 50 acres.
    Troy Kindred, administrator of Hawaii County Civil Defense, said
    flames had crept within a quarter mile of the subdivision.
    Residents evacuated from their homes could find emergency
    shelter at Waimea Community Center.
    Meanwhile on Oahu, 11 fire companies were sent to a brush fire
    in Waianae, near the site of the former Toledo Dairy. Flames burned
    about 10 acres before the fire was declared 90 percent contained.
    Firefighters from the Olomana Fire Station were en route to
    Waianae to join the effort when they were diverted to douse a small
    brush fire behind the Waianae Fire Station.
    Meanwhile, another brush fire broke out in Kapolei in a vacant
    lot owned by the James Campbell Co. Heavy smoke forced the
    temporary closure of a section of Kamokila Boulevard, fire
    officials said.
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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