This is an early morning view of smoke from a brush fire burning south of Waimea. The fire started on Friday morning and high winds, up to 40 mph, caused it to grow rapidly. On Saturday, 8,000 acres were reported burned by noon and 12,000 acres at 5 pm. Sunday morning, at 11 am, that figure had jumped to 36,000 acres and by 1:30 pm was around 40,000 acres.
The fire jumped Highway 190 on Sunday afternoon, prompting an evacuation order for Waikoloa Village, a community with more than 6,000 residents. This order was later lifted as conditions changed and the immediate threat to the community eased.
As of Monday evening, the fire, while not fully contained, had at least been brought somewhat under control and its surge stopped, though a renewal of high winds could easily change all that.
Posted for Bushboy’s Last on the Card photo challenge. See more responses here.
The one positive, from a photographic point of view, of the brush fire that occurred on the Hamakua Coast a couple of weeks ago (here) was that it created some colorful skies. Here’s a view of the small boat harbor at Kawaihae taken late that afternoon.
These chairs in front of Kohanaiki Beach Club looked very tempting to me when I walked by on a recent hike. However, I think if I’d plopped into one I wouldn’t have been able to relax for too long before being moved on.
I work at Hapuna on the South Kohala coast and typically, during the day, clouds build up to the north and east until Kohala Mountain, Mauna Kea, and Mauna Loa are obscured. That was the case a few days ago when I noticed a dense, dark patch rolling down the hill from Waimea. My first thought was that this was rain headed my way, but it looked odd. It proved to be smoke, a fact soon confirmed when the smell filled the air.
The smoke came from a brush fire, 30 miles away, in the vicinity of Pa’auilo on the Hamakua coast. Tradewinds blew the smoke over the saddle at Waimea and on down towards the ocean. The fire consumed about 1,400 acres of brush and eucalyptus trees before it was contained late the next day. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it’s been remarkably dry for quite a while so the fire danger is currently high.
The top two photos show smoke blotting out Kohala Mountain, the second one being taken 15 minutes after the first. (Compare this with the hillside under normal circumstances here.) The bottom photo, taken a little way north of Kawaihae, shows the plume of smoke over the ocean with clear skies to the north of it.