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Big Island Residents Recovering From Largest Wildfire on Record

Hawaii Island Wildfires
Caleb Jones/AP
A cloud of smoke from the Hawaiʻi Island wildfire hangs on the horizon behind the town of Waimea.

Huge wildfires have been raging around the world this summer. The nearly 200 fires in Siberia are collectively larger than the ones burning in Greece, Turkey, Italy, Canada and the United States, combined.

In the U.S., the Dixie Fire in California has already burned nearly 500,000 acres and is quickly becoming one of the largest in state history.

On the Big Island, many residents are recovering from the impacts of the largest wildfire on record. The Hawaiʻi County Fire Department says the Mana Road Fire burned approximately 40,000 acres and claimed two houses.

The department anticipates it will be able to get an updated figure as soon as the weather is clear enough to do an aerial survey — it's still putting out some hotspots.

The homes that burned were located on Hawaiian Homestead land in the Puʻu Kapu area that lies on the outskirts of Waimea.

The Conversation spoke with Micah Kamohoaliʻi, the Cultural Advisor for the Waimea Hawaiian Homesteaders' Association, about the community response during the blaze, and how recovery efforts are moving forward.

"I do have to give a shout out to all of our community members that showed up to assist in helping put out whatever flames they could get to, and haul water. So there were so many Waimea families that just came. I seen at least close to 300 Hawaiians out there," Kamohoaliʻi said.

For more information on how to help those impacted by the recent wildfire on Hawaiʻi Island, click here.

Click the "Listen" button to hear Micah Kamohoaliʻi's interview from The Conversation on Aug. 12, 2021.

Russell Subiono is the executive producer of The Conversation and host of HPR's This Is Our Hawaiʻi podcast. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, television and radio. Contact him at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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