HONOLULU (KHON2) — The National Weather Service said the Fire Weather Watch may push even more of the smoke from the fire over Central Oahu.
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KHON2 spoke to some residents in the affected fire area to understand what they are feeling.
“I think just keep an eye watch on it more closely. Yes, be prepared and have a plan. But really just keep an eye on it,” said Liberty Hernandez, Wahiawa resident.
“Probably just keep more water bottles than everything, and just to go bags just in case something happens,” said Alexis Rodriguez, another Wahiawa resident.
“For this particular fire, I’m not particularly concerned about. It doesn’t seem too big and it’s mostly contained,” said Dillon Cahoon, Mililani resident.
Dr. Clay Trauernicht, from the UH Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management added on the challenges they’ve faced with this fire in such a remote area.
“Just trying to move on one ridge to another, so you can imagine. If you’re a firefighter trying to face conditions with that fuel type burning, you need to get out of the way due to wind shift or whatever it may be. It’s dangerous conditions,” Dr. Trauernicht added.
He said they’ve had to rely heavily on airdrops.
To make things worse, changing conditions prompted the NWS to issue a fire weather watch for Sunday into Monday.
“A fire weather watch means that conditions are favorable for fire weather concerns,” said Thomas Vaughan, NWS meteorologist. “So we’ve got basically dropped Dry air and gusty winds and that combination can cause Fires to spread more easily.”
Vaughan said the stronger winds could push even more smoke over Mililani.
The Honolulu Fire Chief said they are aware of the changes expected this weekend.
“We have contingency plans in place, and again, we’re well aware and prepared to address and pivot our operations to address any of that,” said HFD Chief Hao.
He said they also brought in the Hotshot team from California.
“”They’re on the ground now, and we’re gonna put them to work right around. Mililani Malcolm community in the area that is safe for them to operate to get ahead of the game. Should the winds pick up and fire gets out of control and we have it contained? But we’re just being overly cautious with this,” continued Hao.
Hao also said there are currently 30 Hotshots on island, with possibly 10 more on the way.
NWS said they will keep an eye on conditions, and things could possibly change for the latest.