Gusty winds pushed a large wildfire from Waianae up along the ridge above Makaha Valley Friday night, lighting up the night sky.
The fire burned uncontrollably as occasional heavy gusts blew both makai and mauka.
The Honolulu Fire Department set up two divisions, one for makai and another for mauka fronts of the fire.
Many residents felt threatened by the fire and had self-evacuated.
The 30-acre brush fire had grown exponentially, but fire officials did not want to estimate the size of the blaze.
The fire began near the Cultural Learning Center at Kaala on the eastern or Lualualei side of Waianae Valley, but spread and intensified as the night wore on, burning along the top of the mountain that separates Waianae and Makaha.
Fifteen fire companies and 41 personnel fought the fire in difficult terrain, trying to protect homes with limited water supplies delivered by tanker trucks.
Angel’s Towing and Diamond D Ranch are in the vicinity of the fire.
Ac’Lynne Uesugi drove up with her daughter to check on her 69-year-old mother who lives near the ranch and Angel’s.
Her mother texted her, “The flames are bigger now and the sky is lit up.”
Uesugi said her mother was wetting down her acre property to protect it.
But Department of Emergency Management officials would not allow Uesugi and her daughter to walk or drive along the road that leads to the property.
Uesugi noted a “ring of fire,” with some flames getting closer to Mt. Kaala, where a friend of hers lives. That friend told her not to worry about him, but her mother’s house was closer to the fire.
Her daughter, Phoenix Maimita Valentine, 13, commented, “Spectacular view. Something worth witnessing.”
The ranch has horses, goats and cows, Uesugi said.
But Angel’s Towing was closer to the blaze, according to one Waianae resident who was visiting friends in the area.
Randy Mariani, 31, said Angel’s has a lot of vehicles, and there is a lot of gasoline spilled on the soil there.
He expected to hear explosions.
At about 11:45 p.m., the Fire Department moved some of their operations makai to protect homes in the area of Piliuka Place.
Earlier in the evening, Arthur Gualdarama, 20, whose family lives near Angel’s, said he thought someone’s house was on fire. “I seen the mountain on fire. It amazed me.”
He and a buddy droe up to get close to the fire when it was smaller.
“I hope everybody and their families are safe,” Gualdarama said.
“It was coming so fast,” said Lauden McLean, 18. “The wind took the flame and lit everything up.”