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How bad are forest fires in the US? Even Hawaii is struggling against a surge.

The cost of renting helicopters, which can cost more than $ 1,000 an hour, and the geography of the state, a chain of islands in the Pacific, are also putting a strain on firefighters.

“It’s not like the mainland where you can bring in crews from other states,” said Kevin Kaneshiro, 37, the captain of the nearby Honoka’a fire station that responded to the Pa’auilo fire. “You have to get by with what you have.”

Mr Mora, who has a project to strengthen native vegetation by planting thousands of trees in Hawaii, said the increase in forest fires was also due to social issues, such as the acute housing shortage on the islands.

“Many of the forest fires here are started by homeless people who mean no evil,” said Mora. “These people have to eat, they have to cook their own food, the next thing is a little accident that starts a fire.”

In Pa’auilo, residents are still unnerved by how close the recent forest fire got to their homes. Some areas next to the fire scar were still smoldering in late June, and residents called the local fire station to put out the pop-up fires.

As an indication of the risks, the seagrass has already begun to sprout on the fire-blackened land. Cole Ahuna, whose house was almost engulfed by it, wondered what could happen if the grasses continued to grow, the dry weather continued and the wind picked up again.

“The fire got as far as the horse pasture before the bulldozers came and cut it off,” said Mr. Ahuna, 19. “I never heard anything like that here in my childhood. Now it’s a different world. “

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