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Red flag warning issued for areas of Kaua‘i

LIHU‘E — The chief of the Kaua‘i Fire Department is asking the public to utilize safe practices to decrease the risk of wildfire after the county announced a red flag warning for the leeward areas of the island on Monday.

The National Weather Service issued the warning, also known as a fire weather watch, for the leeward portions of Kaua‘i — and all Hawaiian Islands — early Monday morning due to a forecast of strong winds, warm temperatures and dry fuels combining to create the potential for dangerous fires.

“Due to that lack of consistent rain and with the winds. The strong and gusty winds that we’ve had with low humidity, just those ingredients add up to a critical condition that can be very susceptible to fire,” said Michael Gibson, chief of the Kauai Fire Department, in an interview with The Garden Island on Monday afternoon.

The warning, which includes both the west and south sides of Kaua‘i, remains in effect until 6 a.m. on Wednesday.

“Waimea, Kekaha, Waimea Canyon, everything. Mostly on that west end area. Even more so than the south,” said Gibson of the areas that are at the most risk.

Gibson advised the public to take precautions, including avoiding campfires, fireworks, activities with open flames, and not taking off-road vehicles into dry brush areas.

He also asked the public to notify the Kaua‘i Fire Department of any danger early, due to the smaller size of the fire department. He said the island has 132 firefighters in total, with roughly four firefighters at each station for a total of 36 on active duty.

“We would ask that as soon as anybody sees or smells smoke to give early notification to 911, so that we can get a good head start and get resources in the area quickly to prevent a large fire from occurring,” Gibson said.

Gibson added that he’s hoping for some rain on the westside.

“The latest update that I have is 6 a.m. today (Monday) through 6 a.m. Wednesday. It could be extended, depending on the wind and if we get any rain or not,” he said. “Our fingers are crossed, but we still gotta plan. Plan for the danger and hope for the best.”


Emma Grunwald, reporter, can be reached 808-652-0638 or
Source: The Garden Island

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