Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory / NASA

Scores of firefighters on Maui have fought a high number of brush fires this summer that have burned hundreds of acres of land. This week, fires elsewhere in the Pacific are causing problems for several countries.

National Park Service

Each year, an estimated 500 to 600 wildfires sweep across parts of Oahu. But those fires are different than the ones that burn on the mainland, and in many ways, the charred fields are just the beginning of the problem. 

NASA Earth Observatory / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

Here in Hawai’i we’re in the annual season of possible tropical storms and even hurricanes. But elsewhere in the Pacific, there’s another weather-related concern. In parts of Southeast Asia, it’s fire season — and emergency workers are trying to get ahead it.

Maui Fire Department
Maui Fire Department

Last year, a spark from a hammer was enough to ignite dry grass, and contributed to the largest wildfire in California history. All across the Western U.S., firefighters are wondering what might lie ahead this season. Here in the Islands, thousands evacuated earlier this month as a wildfire tore through central Maui, an example of Hawai‘i’s increasing risk for wildfires.

The Conversation: Friday, March 30th, 2018

Mar 30, 2018
National Park Service

Wildfire Risk; Female Legislators and #MeToo; Made in Hawaii Movie; Hawaii Pickleball League

Marco Polo, 6 Months Later

Jan 13, 2018
Catherine Cruz

The Conversation: Friday, January 12th, 2018

Jan 12, 2018
U.S Pacific Command

Firefighter Stories from Marco Polo; UH Sexual Assault Survey; FISA Renewal; HTY Production of Red Balloon

The Conversation: Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

Jan 9, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

What Happened to Mandatory Sprinkler Systems After Marco Polo?

Town Square: Condo Fire Codes

Jul 20, 2017
Wayne Yoshioka

  In the wake of the 2017 Marco Polo condo fire, it has come to the public's attention that many of Honolulu's high rise residential buildings do not have sprinkler systems. Fire officials said that had there been a sprinkler system in place, the Marco Polo fire would have been doused in a matter of minutes. Today on Town Square we’ll look more closely at the fire code, the sales implications for condos without sprinklers and how high rise residences without sprinklers might get them.


State Braces For Active Wildfire Season in Hawaii

May 16, 2016
Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

Little rainfall and an ongoing drought suggests that Hawai‘i is in for a hot, dry summer. It’s also stoking concerns that the islands will experience a busy fire season.

Back in March, Joseph Momoa was heading home to Nānākuli. As soon as he stepped out of his truck, he knew something was wrong: he could smell it.

“When I turned around and faced the mountain, there was a cloud of smoke coming over the top,” said Momoa.”I knew the wind was coming around this area and sweeping over to my side. I was thinking this fire’s going to be here in about five minutes.”

Eric Moller, Pohakuloa Training Area
Eric Moller, Pohakuloa Training Area

  According to the US Drought Monitor, more than a quarter of the state of Hawai‘i remains “abnormally dry.” That’s a big improvement from the start of the year, when nearly 3 quarters of the state came under that category. But the National Weather Service says drier weather will be returning, and with it, the danger of wildfires. HPR’s Sherry Bracken talked with representatives of a Big Island group that helps safeguard resources, property, and people when wildfires come.    

State DOT
State DOT

  Hawaii Island's airports rely on firefighters on property to respond immediately, within 3 minutes, to any aircraft fire or crash.   Now, the capability of the fire teams to meet those standards is being upgraded with better facilities.   HPR's Sherry Bracken has the story.   

The recent brush fire in North Kona is the latest reminder that drought remains a problem for many areas around the state. HPR's Sherry Bracken talked about the dry conditions with an expert from the National Weather Service.