Brush fire has burned about 20% of Kahoʻolawe

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The island is southwest of Maui in Hawaii

Kaho‘olawe Island fire satellite photo map
Satellite photo showing the vegetation fire on Kaho‘olawe Island February 25, 2020. Sentinel 2, processed by Wildfire Today.

The fire that started over the weekend has burned about 6,400 acres on Kahoʻolawe island southwest of Maui in Hawaii. The Maui Fire Department sized up the blaze Wednesday and confirmed that due to unexploded ordnances left over from 49 years of the military using the island as a bombing range it is unsafe for firefighters on the ground or the air to attempt to suppress the fire.

Kaho‘olawe Island fire
Storage facilities for the Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission burned in the fire. Photo Feb., 25, 2020 by Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission

The Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission’s main storage facilities have burned.

“Losing the KIRC storage facility, more commonly known as ‘Squid’, to the fire yesterday was a huge setback,” the Commission reported February 26 in a news release. “Squid was home to the majority of our restoration and irrigation supplies and equipment, along with five 2500 gallon water catchment tanks, a fleet of all-terrain vehicles used to transport volunteers and gear to work sites, and water craft used for ocean management projects and activities. All of these things are vital to the restoration efforts undertaken by KIRC staff and their volunteer force.”

The fire has blackened an area on the west side of the island that is about three miles by three miles, covering about 20 percent of the 10-mile long island.

Kaho‘olawe Island fire
Kaho‘olawe Island fire. Photo by Maui Fire Department.
Kaho‘olawe Island fire map 3-D
Map, 3-D, showing the location of the fire on Kaho‘olawe Island February 25, 2020. Google/Wildfire Today.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

3 thoughts on “Brush fire has burned about 20% of Kahoʻolawe”

  1. Apparently the term “defensive space ” is foreign to them. But what the heck, all that equipment is free, at the taxpayers expense of course. You’d think that they could have cleared some space to protect all that equipment to haul volunteers and gear to the work sites, and very possibly their only fresh water supply. The first work site should have been clearing the area around the buildings.

    1. It’s not like there was a conspiracy of negligence. Just the ordinary kind found in any WUI neighborhood in the country. Eventually people will figure it out. Or they won’t.


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