North Shore fire flares up again
A flare-up overnight for a North Shore fire meant another busy day for firefighters and another smoky one for Waialua residents.
Thick smoke poured off the mountainside while bright flames lit up the night. The fire on the mountain attracted the attention of many on Oahu's North Shore.
"We noticed from Kaena Point that we could see the bright orange with a lot of smoke. We were just curious how bad it was," said Mililani resident Alex Ho.
The fire, along the Waialua side of Schofield Barracks, flared up overnight according to an Army spokesperson. It threatened to burn even more than the 400 acres it already scorched.
"I saw how bad it was this morning, so I couldn't help but stop," said Waialua resident Eric Kyllar.
Kyllar is just one of the many nearby residents who wonder when the fire will be extinguished for good.
It started on Tuesday, but because of the steep terrain, emergency crews were unable to fight the fire from the ground. Instead, this battle took place in the air with water being dropped from helicopters. Those efforts ended at sundown, which allowed the fire to gain steam again overnight.
"It is looking worse. I thought it would be more contained. I've been getting worried it was going to come over the hill and burn it all off," said Kyllar.
After the sun came up, thick haze hung in the air around the fire, while Waialua residents woke to the smell of smoke again.
"I was looking out the window to see the smoke, and I just hope it goes away," said Waialua resident Miriam Balidoy.
"It is pretty bad. My kids have asthma and the smoke has just been bothering them. They have just been going on their breathing machines to help," said Waialua resident Dustin Calaustro.
Waialua residents said along with the smoke, there is another very visible sign from this fire: ash. The soot has coated cars and homes.
Across the street, at Waialua High and Intermediate School, smoke is the big concern. In fact, two students have already been sent home because of health reasons this week.
To limit the impact of smoke on other students, the school is cutting out any type of cardio workout on campus until the air clears.
"We basically suspended any type of high-impact activities for PE and our fitness areas," said Ryan Ishimoto, a vice principal at Waialua High and Intermediate School. "The air quality in our area is normally great. When we have a fire like this, it does really impact us. In the morning when the winds are not strong, it really settles on our campus and the area."
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