Makaha Valley Residents Return Home as Fire Nears Containment

Marian Boquette
Marian Boquette
Capt. Frank Johnson
Capt. Frank Johnson

MAKAHA VALLEY (KHNL) -- Since Friday, emergency crews have been fighting a Makaha brushfire that's quickly spread. But while some residents have had to deal with smoke and approaching flames, now many are returning home.

As of Saturday evening, the fire was about 70 percent contained. It burned just over 300 acres. The fire is close to being contained, and folks who live nearby are grateful they can sleep in their own beds tonight.

A much calmer day on the leeward coast. The road to Makaha Towers reopened Saturday afternoon, and residents came back after an uncertain night and an unpredictable fire.

"I called and couldn't get through to security so when I finally did, they asked me to call highway patrol, who told me not to come home," said Marian Boquette, a Makaha Valley resident who lives at Makaha Towers.

She spent the night in town, not really sure if her home was in danger.

"We've had brush fires before, but this sounded like it was going to be worse," Boquette said.

More than sixty firefighters battled the fire late into the evening Friday and into Saturday. They had some help from Mother Nature.

"The wind really died down," said Capt. Frank Johnson, a public information officer with the Honolulu Fire Department. "We've had overcast skies and that has helped in firefighting efforts. We have two helicopters in the air right now making water drops."

Boquette came home late Saturday morning to find her building still standing.

"The firemen as usual have everything under control," she said. "They are the best out here."

The leeward coast is typically dryer than other parts of the island, which could cause brush fires to spread more quickly, but some folks say they're not concerned at all.

"We don't think about fires," said Boquette. "The beauty of Makaha Valley and the ocean out here far surpasses any worry we ever have. It's totally worth living out here."

The fire department said the voluntary evacuation last night was done with public safety in mind. Smoke inhalation could worsen asthma or other respiratory conditions.