Even Hawaii Is Struggling With A Surge Of Wildfires


Helicopter rental costs, which can cost more than $1,000 an hour, and the geography of the state, which is a chain of islands in the Pacific, also put a heavy burden on firefighters’ minds.

“It’s not like the mainland where you can go in teams from other states,” said Kevin Kaneshiro, 37, captain of the nearby fire station in Honoka’a, which responded to the Pa’auilo fire. “You have to make do with what you have.”

Mr. Mora, a project to support natural vegetation by planting thousands of trees around Hawaii, said the increase in wildfire activity was also driven by social problems such as the islands’ acute housing shortage.

“Most of the bushfires here are triggered by the homeless doing no harm,” said Mr Mora. “These people need to eat, they have to cook their own food, the next thing is one tiny accident triggers a fire.”

In Pa’auilo, residents are concerned about how close the latest fire has come to their homes. Some areas near the fire trail were still smoldering in late June, and residents called the local fire department to put out the fires.

As if emphasizing the risks, guinea fowl has already begun to sprout in the lands blackened by the fire. Nearly exhausting his home, Cole Ahuna wondered what might happen if the grass kept growing, the dry air continued, and the winds were rising again.

“The fire reached the horse pasture before the dozers came and cut it down,” said 19-year-old Mr. Ahuna. “When I was growing up, this was unheard of around here. It’s a different world now.”


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