HONOLULU — State wildfire crews from the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife today continued to combat for the fourth day a wildfire that started in the back of Wai‘anae valley and spread uphill into the Wai‘anae-Kai state forest reserve.
The Honolulu Fire Department was first to respond on Thursday night and has since contained lower portions of the fire at the back of Wai‘anae valley. The total fire burn acreage estimate is 1,300 acres, which includes an estimated 400 acres in the forest reserve that are considered 85% contained.
DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife has deployed an average of 16 firefighters and 3 brush trucks with 300-gallon tank and pump units into the forest reserve. Three contract helicopters were also making water drops on the first two days, and on Sunday and Monday just one. Gusty winds over the weekend limited by half the normal amount of water a helicopter could carry. Despite rainy conditions for most of Oahu over the weekend, only small amounts of rain affected the fire.
Today’s operations for a hand crew consisted of putting out hot spots in deep duff along the edge of the fire to prevent further spread. An assessment will be conducted later to determine if any threatened and endangered species were affected. Waianae Kai FR is known for having high level of endangered species in the cliff areas of the reserve.
The lower areas of the forest reserve are steep and vegetation mainly consists of dense dry non-native species like guinea grass, haole koa, silk oak and ironwood, and occasional native species such as ‘a‘ali‘i and alahe‘e.
The last major fire to burn in the upper valley area was in June 2012 when 1,200 acres burned, including 400 acres of forest reserve lands.
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