Hawaiʻi County prepares, urges community to do same ahead of expected red flag warning conditions
Hawaiʻi County officials are preparing in anticipation of red flag warning conditions expected to take effect the morning of Nov. 5 and continue through Nov. 6, and they are urging the community to do the same.
The County is activating its Emergency Operation Center as much of the Big Island is already under a fire weather watch because of dry weather conditions. The watch covers all leeward areas of the island, from North Kohala to Kaʻū, and interior communities.
A red flag warning is issued when the combination of dry vegetation and weather conditions creates an extremely high fire risk.
These conditions are conducive to the rapid spread of wildfires.
“We’re asking our residents to protect each other by being cautious and remaining mindful in their actions,” said Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth. “We’ve seen these conditions lead to multiple fires along our leeward coast in the past and we want to ensure we do all we can to prevent them to the best of our ability. These fires can potentially put our firefighters and communities at large in harm’s way.”
In response to the increased fire risk:
- All camping permits for Sunday at leeward beach parks have the potential to be canceled, including Mahukona Beach Park, Spencer Beach Park, Kohanaiki Beach Park, Hoʻokena Beach Park, Punaluʻu Beach Park and Whittington Beach Park. Campers will be notified if cancellations are necessary.
- All outdoor burning will be prohibited from midnight Nov. 5 to 6 a.m. Nov. 7 in North Kohala, South Kohala, North Kona, South Kona and Kaʻū.
- Outdoor activities involving open flames, such as outdoor cooking, welding and grinding metal, will be prohibited from midnight Nov. 5 through 6 a.m. Nov. 7.
- Parking vehicles on dry grass after travel is prohibited from midnight Nov. 5 through 6 a.m. Nov. 7.
- Property owners are urged to secure outdoor items and implement necessary fire safety precautions.
Residents are also encouraged to visit the Hawaiʻi Wildfire Management Organization’s website for information about wildfire prevention and safety measures.
Any updates or changes in conditions will be promptly communicated. Safety remains the County’s top priority, and the cooperation of all residents is crucial to mitigate the risks posed by the prevailing fire weather conditions.
“By remaining mindful and refraining from potentially risky behaviors, we can significantly reduce the chances of large brushfires,” Roth said.