National News

Expert compares Calif., Hawaii when it comes to wildfires

Posted October 11

— Here in Hawaii, wildfires haven't even approached the scale of the calamity in California. However, the Honolulu Fire Department says the potential is there.

Over the past five years HFD has responded to nearly 2,000 wildland fires, which burned more than 9,000 acres. The last major brushfire in Hawaii was back in 2011, destroying two homes and six structures on Kaua'i.

Wildland Fire Specialist with the University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service, Clay Trauernicht, says California's increased wind speeds, large amount of dry grass, and overall size combine to make things much more extreme there.

"When you get these really strong winds, fires will move through those fuel types extremely quickly." Expained Trauernicht.

The day the fires broke out, the California National Weather Service says winds speeds ranged from 40 to 70 miles per hour.

Trauernicht says 99% of Hawaii's fires are started by people.

To help prevent wildfires, HFD recommends keeping a 30-foot safety zone around your home, as well as having a family evacuation plan.

An HFD Spokesperson said the Honolulu Fire Department is aware of the ongoing wildland fires in Northern California and their thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by this catastrophic event.

At this time, there has been no requests for HFD support and there are currently no plans of dispatching personnel to these incidents.

For further prevention tips, visit Hawaiiwildfire.org.

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