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Large wildfire burning amid drought on Hawaiis Big Island

HONOLULU (AP) A big wildfire in a rural section of Hawaiis Big Island isn’t threatening any homes, but high winds and intensely dry conditions are rendering it problematic for crews to support the blaze.

The fire were only available in the western reaches of the U.S. Armys Pohakuloa Training Area, that is above the city of Waikoloa and among the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea volcanoes.

The fire had burned a lot more than 15 square miles (39 square kilometers) by Thursday.

Huge wildfires just like the one in Hawaii highlight the dangers of climate change-related heat and drought for most communities through the entire U.S. West along with other hotspots all over the world. But experts say relatively small fires on typically wet, tropical islands in the Pacific may also be increasing, developing a cycle of ecological damage that affects vital and limited resources for an incredible number of residents.

State land officials said the fire actually began weeks ago and smoldered until strong winds fanned the flames this week.

The region is dominated by shrubs and grasslands which have been dried by persistent drought.

This fire is quite significant in fact it is taking this entire team of first responders to collectively contain its advances, said Lt. Col. Kevin Cronin, commander of the U.S. Army Garrison Pohakuloa Training Area, in a statement.

Strong winds have already been recorded over the area, some more than 30 mph (48 kph).

The current weather conditions are causeing this to be fight difficult to slow the advance of the fire, and our combined efforts will work to avoid it from reaching or crossing Highway 190, Cronin said.

The fire is currently burning on state land and is approximately a mile from Highway 190, in accordance with Big Island county officials.

Waikoloa Village, a town around 7,000 people on the other hand of Highway 190, was evacuated this past year once the states largest-ever wildfire burned a lot more than 70 square miles (181 square kilometers).

Linda Hunt, who works at a horse stable in Waikoloa Village, said she can easily see the flames from her farm but that winds are pushing the fire from her community.

Were about 10, 15 miles down the hill, she said. What sort of wind is blowing, its likely to keep blowing towards Kona. Unless we get yourself a change of wind, thats the only method wed be affected.

Federal, state and local firefighters want to support the blaze. Crews are employing bulldozers to produce a fire break and many helicopters from various agencies are dropping water on the fire.

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources released video of the blaze Thursday.

A spokesperson for the Army told The Associated Press that since there is active military trained in the area, the reason for the fire remains under investigation.

You can find units up there training, I cant confirm or deny if live fire was occurring, said Michael O. Donnelly, chief of external communications for the U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii. Its business as usual, however the exact cause we dont know.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for fire conditions in your community through Thursday night.

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