HONOLULU (KHON2) — Fire officials said the rain over the Mililani Mauka wildfire has helped suppress some of the flame activity, but the wet weather is adding to the challenges for the crews on foot who are working to create a fireline in that steep terrain.
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The Mililani Mauka fire has been burning for more than a week, the Honolulu Fire Department said containment remains at 85%, but as of Monday at 5 p.m. the fire containment rose to 90%.
Helicopters continue dropping water while the Mendocino Hotshots crews — with the of U.S. Forest Service — have been working all weekend long.
Adam Coronado is part of the Mendocino Hotshots, he said the terrain is steep and slippery and there is the risk of branches falling on them.
Coronado said, “The steep slopes, slipping and falling would easily hurt one of us, the trees knock a branch off and knock us out and then the fire.”
A group of about 20 traveled to California to help clear a fireline. They specialize in going into areas that are unreachable to many, to clear anything that could become fuel.
Coronado said, “Once we remove the fuel the fire gets to the mineral soil handline, if you will, and then it will be put out essentially it’s got no fuel to consume, no fuel means no fires.”
Crews said overnight rain helped tame the flames, the National Weather Service said .18 inches of rain have fallen in the area near the fire in the last 24 hours.
Residents like Charles Smith said he is noticing positive signs.
Smith said, “I noticed quite a bit of ash build up in my drive and backyard over the last week or so but it seems to have improved significantly.”
On Monday, there was still a slight campfire smell in the air but residents said nothing compared to the last couple of days. Mililani Mauka resident Linnie Tan said she is finally getting some relief from the smoke and ash, so she decided to get back outdoors to exercise.
Tan said, “I don’t really see too much ash even on the ground anywhere so I felt more comfortable coming out. This is actually the first day out running.”
Air quality monitors near the burn area showed “green” as in good air quality.
HFD said crews will remain engaged to prevent further spread, the cause of the fire is still under investigation.