Whitmore brush fire burns 50 acres, abandoned cars

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu firefighters are investigating the cause of a large brush fire that broke out Monday, Sept. 27 in Wahiawa.

It closed Kamehameha Highway in both directions between Kamananui Road and Dole Plantation.

The Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) was alerted to the fire at 11:46 a.m. and sent 20 units to the scene.

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The road reopened around 4:15 p.m.

Some Poamoho residents who live across the street said they heard a pop and then their neighborhood was filled with smoke

“There were a lot of explosions at one point on the grass near the road area up by the entrance,” said a Poamoho resident. “There was even like spark of something. I don’t know what kind of, look like a firework exploded but there was a lot of popping during the fire as it was spreading.”

Police said residents could voluntarily leave.

“They just let the people know in the front that if we wanted to leave we could leave but we won’t be able to enter until it’s safe again,” said a Poamoho resident.

The more than 230 acres of land where the fire broke out is owned by the agribusiness development corporation project.

The area was notorious for illegal activity including a huge chop shop and was being used as a mass dumping ground for years.

In January 2020 a 30-year-old woman was shot and killed in the area.

A few weeks later law enforcement swept the place arresting several men and clearing up the farmland.

24-hour security has been in place ever since but Senator Donovan Dela Cruz’s office confirmed through the security company that a berm was cut through a few days ago, and people were able to get in. It’s unknown if the fire is related to the recent breach. HFD is investigating.

Agribusiness Development Corporation’s (ADC) project manager told KHON2 he believes it was set intentionally.

He confirmed not all the rubbish and cars were removed from the area. He says there is an ADC board meeting next week, and they want approval to get farmers on the land so they can clear the area up. They hope presence on the land will help stop the illegal activity.

HFD says approximately 50 acres burned it was 90% contained as of 4:30 p.m.

No homes were threatened, and no injuries were reported.

The fire could be seen from KHON2’s broadcast center in Ala Moana. Watch the video below.

Correction: A previous version of this story had an incorrect number of acres burned in the headline. The headline has been corrected.

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