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DLNR NEWS RELEASE: Fire has scorched one thousand acres of Waianae Kai forest reserve rain helping prevent spread & saving rare, endangered plants

Posted on Nov 19, 2016 in Latest Department News

(HONOLULU) – Sixteen firefighters from the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife continue to fight a wild fire burning in the Waianae Kai Forest Reserve on Oahu’s leeward coast. The fire which started on grasslands two days ago, spread into the reserve on Friday and as of mid-day has burned 1,000 acres.

This is critical habitat for rare plants, and invertebrates such as land snails and picture wing flies. The watershed provides drinking water for the municipal supply of the Waianae coast.

One fire break was created by a cement road maintained by the Honolulu Board of Water Supply.  On other other side is a “green break” of native plants that the West Waianae Watershed Partnership has been planting for the past three years.  Some of these plants were singed but, by and large most of this area was not burned.

The Dropbox link below contains two pictures of outplanted nau (Gardenia brighamii), inside a small exclosure in the Waianae Kai Forest Reserve. These are examples of species that are at risk of burning from wildfires. Other photos show some of the historic and archaeological stone structures that are exposed when fire burns through an area.

Precipitation and light winds last night and today is aiding efforts to keep the fire from further damaging the watershed. DLNR/DOFAW have three contract helicopters doing water drops and the US Army Garrison Hawaii is also providing a helicopter because endangered plants that it manages are also at risk.

Firefighters say the objective of the day is to keep the fire from further encroaching into the watershed and to keep it west of the Kumaipo trail and ridge top. People are urged to stay out of the forest reserve while firefighting activities are taking place. Officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement are on scene for public safety.


Photographs: (Courtesy: Hawaii DLNR)


Media Contact:

Dan Dennison

Senior Communications Manager

(808) 587-0407