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Hawaii News

Shuttered plantations’ fallow land poses huge risk of fires

  • Video courtesy Blue-Hawaiian Helicopters

    Gov. David Ige declared Maui County a disaster area in an emergency proclamation Friday. The South Maui brush fire that began Thursday burned 12,000 acres by Friday evening.

  • BRYAN BERKOWITZ / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

    Smoke encompassed the recently decommissioned Puunene Sugar Mill on Maui as crews battled a fire that broke out Friday afternoon. The fire in South Maui that began Thursday has scorched at least 9,000 acres.

For several decades this has been a burning issue in Hawaii as the demise of plantation agriculture has given rise to increasingly frequent and big wildfires on fallow farmland where grasses, haole koa and other easily burned vegetation supplanted sugar cane, pineapple and cattle ranching pastures. Read more

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