What might be described as a rash of burning sensations erupted around the state on the Fourth of July. On the Big Island, O’ahu and Kaua’i – fire crews were faced with dozens of brush fires charring hundreds of acres.
On Maui, there were at least five notable blazes Saturday and at least two are being termed “suspicious.”
At 2:01 p.m Saturday, firefighters responded to a reported brush fire near Moi Place and Piilani Highway. Kihei firefighters were on scene at 2:10 p.m. and worked to contain a brush fire between Kaiola Place and Piilani Highway. Moi Place bordered the fire area to the south. There were five fire units from Kihei, Wailea and Kahului on scene mopping up a two to three-acre brush fire. Piilani Highway was briefly closed while crews battled the fire. This fire’s cause is still under investigation.
At 4:05 p.m. Saturday, emergency dispatchers received a call for another brush fire starting up about 150 yards to the south of where crews were mopping up at the first fire. Firefighters disconnected fire hoses and drove down the street to attack the second fire, which was about 40 feet wide and around 400 feet long. There were several homes surrounding the fire so crews worked quickly to contain it about 15 minutes later.
Cause is still under investigation, but it does appear suspicious. There’s considerable distance between the two fires, so we do not think it was an ember from the first fire. The southbound lane of Piilani Highway was closed for firefighter safety while they were working on the highway shoulder.
It is unknown if fireworks played a roll in either of the fires – or any of the dozens of blazes that flared across the state.
Also on Saturday, a fire caused about $100,000 damage in Happy Valley – displacing a family who had escaped unharmed. Another fire flared up in Lahaina Saturday afternoon and a small fire was quickly doused in Pa’ia.
The Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) will take its first big step on the road to Mars early tomorrow. The spacecraft will undergo a “spin table test” at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kaua’i.
The event will stream from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. PDT (8:30 – 9:30 a.m. HST) on NASA JPL’s live stream.
The 15-foot-diameter craft is shaped like a flying saucer, and inflates to its size through a series of balloons that increase the surface area of the craft. It uses drag to decelerate from Mach 3 to Mach 2, preparing its payload for a softer landing on the Martian surface. This table test is a demonstration of how the craft will spin as it decelerates NASA’s cargo during the descent.
Because Mars has a much thinner atmosphere than Earth, simple solutions like a parachute are typically not enough on their own to slow down a spacecraft to a safe speed. That’s why NASA has to use creative solutions like the sky crane that lowered Curiosity to the Martian surface.The LDSD is also meant to save on rocket fuel during landings, which would allow NASA to use the rockets for “final maneuvers and landing procedures.” In addition, LDSD potentially could haul heavier cargo and land it at higher altitudes, enabling NASA to explore more varied terrain, like mountains and plateaus.
The system has been through one successful flight test in June 2014 to determine its flight readiness, though that was not a full-scale launch.Eventually, NASA will conduct full flight tests with its flying saucer in Earth’s atmosphere. If it works, then perhaps one day this will be the system that allows manned missions to safely descend to the martian surface.
By Darren Pai, Hawaii Electric Companies
HONOLULU – As part of its transformation to deliver a more affordable, clean energy future for Hawai’i, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are proposing a new program to increase rooftop solar in a way that’s safe, sustainable and fair for all customers.
HONOLULU — The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), in cooperation with Hawaii County Civil Defense, is canceling all camping permits for Waimanu and closing the Waimanu trail in north Kohala on the Big Island today. This closure continues at least through the weekend. A forecasted storm could bring high winds, rising waters and flash flooding to the Big Island. With long sustained rains, stream levels are likely to rise, which is a safety hazard for hikers crossing streams. Do not attempt to cross a flooded stream. Remain on higher ground and wait for the water to subside.
” We are cancelling all camping permits and the remote Waimanu trail until after the storm has passed and the trail can be inspected and made safe again,” explained Hans Sin, DOFAW wildlife biologist and manager for Hawaii Island.
In addition, the DLNR Division of State Parks has closed the Kalalau Trail in Kauai’s Na Pali Coast State Wilderness Park until further notice. State Parks staff will re-evaluate trail conditions Saturday morning before deciding when to reopen this popular trail.
No closures have been announced for parks in Maui County yet – although Poli Poli Ridge and Waianapanapa will likely be the first considered. We’ll update this story as further closures are announced.
By Jeff King
It’s official. The “Dark Side” of the Aloha State is the island of Kaua’i.
At least so far this year.
The entire island of Kaua’i suffered a total power blackout around midnight. Crews were able to restore power to all customers by 5:40 a.m. today, according to the Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative’s Facebook page.
In an effort to make “light” of it (please pardon the pun), a post on their page at 5:40 a.m. read “…All customers restored at 5:40 a.m. Hope most of you folks slept through it but for those who didn’t, thanks for your understanding and Happy New Year. We’ll post something when we know the cause.”
HONOLULU – A swimmer in distress was rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter after being swept out to sea near Hanakapiai Beach, Kauai, Friday.
An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was on a routine mission when they received notification by radio from a tour helicopter that “S.O.S.” was written in the sand on a nearby beach.
The Dolphin crew diverted to the area and began searching for any signs of distress. They noticed a male had been pulled off the shore by a rip current and was in need of immediate assistance.
The crew selected and maintained a position. They lowered the rescue basket and the swimmer was able to safely climb in before being hoisted into the helicopter.
The man was flown to Lihue Airport where he was transferred to awaiting EMS for further evaluation.
The Coast Guard advises beachgoers to know their limits and visit beaches staffed with lifeguards. Rip tides and severe surf can quickly overpower even the strongest swimmers.
For more information on current local beach conditions, visit www.hawaiibeachsafety.com.
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