Wildfire shuts down busy Oahu freeway

Buddy Loo
Buddy Loo
Ryan Thompson
Ryan Thompson
Ruben Paclib
Ruben Paclib

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

WAIAWA RIDGE (KHNL) - Crews are fighting a new wildfire along Waiawa Ridge from the ground and from the air. But they have not stopped the flames from shutting down a busy Oahu freeway.

Southbound lanes of the H-2 Freeway have been re-opened, but all northbound lanes are still closed, as fire fighters from all over Oahu try to get the upper hand on this fast moving fire.

Authorities say there are no reports of injuries, and no homes or businesses are threatened by this fire at this time.

But there is concern over how close the fire is getting to the H-2 freeway and to Hawaiian Electric's power lines.

Multiple fire crews battle this wildfire, raging out of control near the H-2 freeway.

"I was driving by and I was getting closer and I seen a lot of smoke, so I figured I wanted to stop by and check it out, it's pretty interesting, never seen nothing like this before," Aiea resident Buddy Loo said.

Loo wasn't alone. he and many others traveling southbound on the H-2 Freeway, stopped on the shoulder lane to see and snap photos of the blaze. Police though, stepped in and cleared the area.

"My wife and I were just coming down from the North Shore and hanging out, doing some sightseeing, never seen anything quite like it, I know there's some fires going on in L.A., that's anywhere close to it," Visitor Ryan Thompson said.

In the Waipio area, residents were worried about the fire coming towards them.

"It's moving faster and closer to the neighborhood, kind of scary for the homes and the people," Waipio resident Ruben Paclib said.

The thick smoke could be seen from miles away and even some helicopters above disappeared in the haze.

"At first I thought it was a controlled burn or something like that, maybe, seems pretty dry around here, but don't look like that's the case," Thompson said.

Utility poles were no match for the fire. But Hawaiian Electric officials report no outages so far.

Fire officials say they don't know how the fire started or how many acres it's burned just yet.

At this hour, traffic is being re-routed to the H-1 Westbound and Waipahu off-ramp to Kamehameha Highway northbound.

American Red Cross volunteers are ready to help out. They're bringing 85 meals to feed the firefighters and they're also available for anyone needing emergency assistance.