"Wildfire & drought look out!"
Recent rain on O'ahu may seem like a fire deterrent. It is, but only in the short-term.
Derek Wroe, a meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration cautions against assuming more rain means less fire.
"Even though you may see easing in some areas we are heading into the hottest and driest portions of the year we typically see," he notes.
This time, the easing is the rain that has hit O'ahu recently, reviving large sections of green vegetation. Parlayed with intense heat and drought, the greenery is now "fuel" for potential wildfires.
"We have seen green-up events, greening up in the western part of the state. What ends up happening is that means higher fire risks later because we see accumulation of these fuels and if we return to drought conditions later in the year those areas are higher fire risk," says Clay Trauernicht, a wildland fire specialist with the University of Hawaii.
These fires clear large ares where "fuel" can re-grow. The fire on Kauai that just burned over 2100 acres is a prime example of that cyclical destruction. It burned in the exact same areas in May of 2019, May of 2017 and the summer of 2012.
So what can citizens do to prevent wildfires? The main points from the Hawai'i Wildfire Management Organization are to put out campfires and barbecues cold before walking away, avoid pulling your vehicle over on dry grass, and avoid using equipment that could spark.