Latest Waiawa brush fire travels south of H-2 near homes

Capt. Terry Seelig
Capt. Terry Seelig
Valentine Giron
Valentine Giron

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

WAIAWA (KHNL) - For the fifth straight day -- and the seventh day this month -- Honolulu fire crews rushed to Waiawa to battle a brush fire. But this time, concerns intensified as flames moved toward homes.

On previous days, the flames stayed on the north side, or the mauka side, of the H-2 Freeway where there isn't much in the way of structures. That wasn't the case Friday.

Still weary from battling a series of brush fires this month, crews hustle to put out flames on the south side of the H-2 Freeway near Waiawa Friday afternoon.

"We don't want the fire anywhere, but we especially don't want it on this side of the freeway," Capt. Terry Seelig, Honolulu Fire Department, said.

Officials say this fire broke out where all the earlier ones did -- on the north side of the H-2. But it then ran under an elevated portion of the freeway, traveling towards the Seaview residential community.

"This is deadly serious," Seelig said.

Seaview resident Valentine Giron grabs his garden hose and goes to work.

"We've been just shooting down the house, shooting down the perimeter, basically trying to keep everything wet," he said.

Giron says in his 22 years of living here, he's never seen a brush fire get this close to his home.

"Pardon the pun, but that is the pressure cooker," he said. "Getting closer, making us nervous."

The H-2 is shut down in the area of the fire fight, causing a traffic jam at the H-1 west-bound split.

"That all impacts the public. It inconveniences them and endangers them," Seelig said. "It also endangers our firefighters."

Officials now believe most of the recent brush fires in Waiawa were not flare-ups and were deliberately set.

"These are in areas that are not joined by burnt-out area," Seelig said. "There were a few, but the majority have been new occurrences."

There was also a separate brush fire on the north side of the H-2 Friday. Police say two men were seen fleeing the area.

If you notice any suspicious behavior, you're asked to call police.