HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii’s recent dry, hot and windy conditions have contributed to several wildfires in recent months and officials are urging everyone to be prepared for what they say is going to be an especially active summer and fall fire season.
Firefighting agencies across the state kicked off the annual “Wildlife and Drought Lookout” awareness campaign, highlighting the importance of taking steps to prevent fires.
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“Wherever the wind can blow a leaf, it can blow an ember and start a fire. Embers can fly up to a mile, so keep your yards clean, lean, and green right now,” said Nani Barretto of the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO). “The one thing we want people to know is, fires are different than other natural hazard events in that they can be prevented, and their impacts reduced, if we’re proactive.”
The Department of Land and Natural Resources says 68.52% of the land statewide is considered abnormally dry, with 4% experiencing moderate drought, and a small fraction of land on the west side of the Big Island already in severe drought conditions.
“We have a lot of brush that’s built up over the last four years, so that’s going to be a prime issue in the coming months. Based on forecasts, we are in for a particularly dry year, which is an issue for us on the Big Island, and the rest of the state as well,” said Hawaii County Fire Chief Kazuo Todd.
To view the intensity of drought on each island, view the US Drought Monitor here.