Mililani brush fire continues to burn through hundreds of acres - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Mililani brush fire continues to burn through hundreds of acres

Courtesy: Ryan Peralta Courtesy: Ryan Peralta
Courtesy: Ryan Peralta Courtesy: Ryan Peralta
MILILANI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

[Update 1/26/15]

Federal firefighters with specialized wildland fire management training arrived from the Big Island and the mainland to assist in management of the brush fire in Mililani, located in the Kipapa drainage.

A fire official said responders are trying to contain the fire by using ground-based firefighters and aerial water drops from helicopters. They were able to contain 50 percent of the fire, but approximately 430 acres of mostly intact native forest had already burned. 

Suppression efforts cost about $70,000. 

[Original story]

Firefighters are continuing to battle a stubborn brush fire in Mililani that's already blazed through hundreds of acres and threatening endangered species. 

The Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Honolulu Fire Department returned to Kipapa drainage on Thursday and continued with air water drops in an attempt to douse the flames.

DLNR officials say there are 22 listed endangered species in the area including the Oahu 'elepaio, a bird known from the area, as well as several listed endangered plants and tree snails.

"The fire's currently burning in the Oahu Forest Wildlife Refuge so this is a federal piece of property," said Lisa Hadway of the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife. "It's over 4,000 acres that protects a unique forest type, and most of the 350 acres burning is within that National Wildlife Refuge."

Officials say the portion of the Oahu Forest Wildlife Refuge that was burned has been irreversibly damaged, and that the rough terrain and dry conditions are making it extremely difficult to control the fire.

"It's a really remote area, the only access is via helicopter so there are five helicopters on scene right now working with water buckets and doing water drops," Hadway explained.

Honolulu Fire Department PIO Kendall Chang explained that when these types of brush fires happen, it mainly affects the watershed.

"As far as I understand, once the forestry is destroyed it doesn't grow back again, and so it's really sad because invasive species take over and then it effects how we get water for our future generations," Chang said.

Officials say the fire is about 30 percent contained, but there is still no confirmation on what caused the fire.

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