Help Is On The Way For City, Waialua Fire Victims

Flo Ozoa
Flo Ozoa

WAIALUA (KHNL) - It's been one week since the Waialua fire started, and at seven thousand acres lost, Honoulu Fire officials are calling it the largest brush fire in recent memory.

Help is on the way. The City and County of Honolulu qualifies for federal disaster funds. Also relief is headed to farmers and ranchers who suffered losses in the Waialua fire.

While the fire is one hundred percent contained, fire officials will likely wait until Monday before confirming that is is extinguished. That's because stubborn hotspots are known to flare up.

From the moment it started this was no ordinary brush fire.

A wall of flames nearly 40 feet high threatened homes.

Dozens of residents evacuated.

Swirling winds made it unpredictable.

Flames scattered off in different directions.

One third of the Honolulu Fire Department mobilized to attack it.

This week fire officials will discuss their response.

Honolulu Fire Chief Ken Silva states, "We look at our best practices, look at where we had gaps and try to address those things."

Up for discussion, why it took 48 hours to get giant military helicopters to help. They drop ten times as much water as other helicopters.

Now they focus on recovery. "We applied early this week for a disaster fire grant from FEMA and we got it word it has been approved. and that will go for personnel costs involved in the city," says Mayor Hannemann.

By Wednesday the fire consumed five thousand acres. Farmers reported the fire destroyed crops like banana trees and avocados.

By Thursday it spread to 67-hundred and we learned the Flying R ranch lost more than two thousand acres of pastureland. No grass left where cattle can graze.

The U-S Department of Agriculture may give grants to local farmers and ranchers.

Firefighters are credited with saving lives and property. Mayor Hannemann maintains, "I want to thank our firefighters and their families for going through this ordeal and putting us in a better situation than we were 7 days ago."