HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Honolulu Fire Department was kept busy on Sunday with the Red Flag Warning not making things any easier as they dealt with several fire incidents across Oahu.

A brush fire broke out in Haleiwa at around 1:24 p.m. and prompted the closure of busy commute areas, which have since been reopened.

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According to firefighters, the brush fire was 100% contained by around 3:32 p.m. but not before scorching about two acres of land and getting close to some structures.

Smoke rising from a brush fire in Haleiwa on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023.
Smoke rising from a brush fire in Haleiwa on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023.

“I could see from my house the smoke and it’s always in the back of your mind, I think, wanting to make sure that doesn’t happen here,” said Chris Ballard, a shop owner in the nearby area. “The choppers dropping water like right there across the street, so I mean it could easily just hop over the road. I mean this is our business which is our livelihood. Of course we were very concerned about that.”

Just before that, at around 12 p.m., HFD was called to the scene of a wildfire on Waihee Road.

HFD said the fire is located at the base of the Koolau Mountains where steep terrains are making it inaccessible for firefighters to battle it on foot. However, HFD helicopters are making water drops.

On top of that, firefighters are continuing their days long battle of the Mililani Mauka fire.

According to HFD, no homes are being threatened nor have any evacuations been enforced.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency administrator said the EOC is partially activated along the counties on Oahu, along with aircrafts and the National Guard to support the Mililani firefighting efforts.

“Right now, in support of Honolulu fire, the National Guard has four aircraft and DOFA has I believe two contracted aircraft,” said Hawaii EMA administrator James Barros. “All in support of the Mililani fire, but because we cut those assets to the county, the incident commander of Honolulu fire could use those office where they require where the need is.”

Barros also added Hawaiian Electric has been a part of the emergency preparedness conversations.

“Hawaiian Electric is deploying spotters to strategic locations in risk areas on all islands that we serve to watch for ignition. If a fault or disturbance is detected on a circuit, power lines in risk areas will shut off automatically until crews visually confirm that it is safe to restore power.”

HECO Spokesperson

“HECO is doing their part and fire has ramped up their district with key staffing so we take accountability of all the heavy equipment and apparatus we might need if a fire starts,” said Talmadge Magno of the Hawaii County Civil Defense.

Red Flag Warning fueling the flames

The wildfires come as the National Weather Service issued the Red Flag Warning for much of Hawaii, warning that the public should be extremely careful with open flames.

The advisory took effect at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5. It was issued for all leeward areas of the state and central Oahu but was specifically canceled for Kauai later in the night.

Strengthening trade winds also prompted a Wind Advisory that began at noon for some islands: Kahoolawe, Lanai, Maui and the Big Island.

Both advisories are expected to last until 6 p.m. on Monday.

During the time of the Red Flag Warning, the NWS said this means fire conditions are ongoing or expected to occur shortly in the warning area.

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According to the NWS, potential of critical fire conditions will be fueled with strong winds and low relative humidity.

Officials recommend to keep from any outdoor burning during the advisory.