Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Firefighters are battling a major Hawaiian wildfire. science-environment

Wildfires on Hawaii’s Big Island escalated overnight as firefighters worked to contain a large fire burning in a rural area between the volcanoes of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. No homes were at risk, but the flames came within miles of an important highway on Friday. The area where the fire is burning is dominated by shrubs and grasslands, which have been affected by persistent drought in the region.

“The fires over the past two days were mostly burning in the invasive fountain grass,” said Steve Bergfeld, Hawaii Islands branch manager for the Department of Wildlife’s Department of Lands and Natural Resources. “Unfortunately, the fire has moved to some dryland forest that has native lehua (trees), and we are trying to keep the flames out of this sensitive area.” which started in the western. reaches the US Army’s Pohakuloa training area, above the village of Waikoloa, a town of about 7,000 people.

Officials said the fire had burned more than 25 square miles (66 square kilometers) as of Friday. Earlier in the day, the state estimated the fire had burned more than 39 square miles (101 square kilometers), but reduced that number after formal aerial mapping Friday afternoon. He estimated the fire had burned about 15 square miles as of Thursday.

According to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, crews were using seven bulldozers to douse the fire around the blaze and five military helicopters were spilling thousands of gallons of water on the hottest part of the fire Friday.

The flames were largely contained in the land of Saddle Road, Highway 190 and the Military Training Area in an area surrounded by 1859 lava flows. The department said fire managers are hoping that the area of ​​hard lava rock will act as a natural fire breakout.

Last year, this same area of ​​the Big Island saw the state’s largest wildfire ever, a fire that destroyed many homes and threatened thousands. It burned over 70 square miles (181 square kilometers) on the slopes of Mauna Kea, the state’s highest mountain.

Like many islands in the Pacific, Hawaii’s dry seasons are becoming more extreme with climate change. Large wildfires highlight the dangers of climate-related heat and drought for many communities across the US and other hotspots around the world. But experts say fires are also increasing on typically moist tropical islands in the Pacific Ocean.

State land officials said the fire actually started several weeks ago and continued to smolder until strong winds resurfaced the flames this week. Strong winds have been recorded throughout the region, some over 30 mph (48 kph).

Bergfield said winds had eased somewhat, but gusts of 25 mph (40 kph) were expected later on Friday.

The Hawaii Department of Lands and Natural Resources released video of the fire on Thursday.

An army spokesman told The Associated Press that active military training is underway in the area, but the cause of the fire is under investigation.

“There are training units out there that I can’t confirm or deny if there was live fire,” said Michael O’Donnelly, chief of external communications for the US Army Garrison Hawaii. “It’s business as usual, but we don’t know the exact reason.”

(This story has not been edited by DevDiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Deskhttps://nationworldnews.com
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
Latest news
Related news
- Advertisement -