The Islands Are Turning Brown

Published: May. 10, 2007 at 1:53 AM HST|Updated: May. 10, 2007 at 5:35 AM HST
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Wayne Ching
Wayne Ching
Su Shin
Su Shin

By: Paul Drewes

(KHNL) - When you step outside and look around, chance are there's one thing you see: brown.

Drier than normal conditions in the islands have some people preparing for more parched weather ahead.

Hawaii doesn't have four seasons, it only has two.

The wet season which usually runs thru the winter and spring along with the dry season which runs summer through fall.

But this year, it looks like summer has come early.

Instead of the changing color of the leaves to signal the start of fall,

we get the changing of the grass and brush, from lush and green after winter rains, to brown and brittle as the rains dry up.

When the islands turn brown, water usage and the number of fires typically go up, and that is cause for concern as we head into the usually drier summer months. "I've seen it the last couple of months more dry than normal , so i'm pretty worried what's going on this summer." says State Protection Forester, Wayne Ching.

Worried because as grasses and plants that have been growing all winter dry out, they change from landscape to fuel for fires.

"Because of dry conditions you get a greater chance of curing and dead vegetation, and when the fire starts, it makes it a higher intensity fire." adds Ching.

While fire prevention efforts spring up late in the spring, so do water conservation efforts. Because water usage typically increases dramatically over the next few months. "The peak usage for water is during the dry months, the summer months. When your lawn starts to get brown, you start watering." says Su Shin with the Board of Water Supply.

So this spring, some are busy trying to protect and preserve our natural resources, before things dry out completely.

The board of water supply recommends being careful about water usage not only during the dry season but throughout the year. While fire fighters recommend you trim back bushes and trees around your home and clear away dead plants and leaves to prepare for the dry fire season ahead.