LIHUE — While recovery from April 2018 floods continues on the North Shore, the Westside is looking at severe drought conditions through September.
“We’re already seeing agriculture impacts, especially for the ranchers and we’re expecting a more active brushfire season,” said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hydrologist, Kevin Kodama in a Wednesday press conference.
He later expanded on Kauai’s conditions in a phone interview with The Garden Island, saying the Westside isn’t predicted to see relief until October.
“It’s already affecting ag out there and has for a couple of months now,” Kodama said, pointing out brush fires already in Kekaha in 2019. “We’re already in the dry season.”
February brought fire to the old Kekaha Sugar Mill, triggering about $50,000 in damage. The cause of that fire is still under investigation.
In March, Kauai Fire Department responded to multiple brush fires along Kokee Road. Roughly 50 acres burned before the blaze was contained.
Tuesday night, firefighters responded to another fire on the Westside — a small blaze near the Kekaha landfill that was reported about 6:45 p.m. and quickly controlled.
Officials believe that fire ignited through natural causes.
The forecast calls for below-average rainfall from Hanapepe to Barking Sands.
“Because we already have existing drought going on in the leeward areas, we’re anticipating the drought will expand and worsen,” Kodama said.