Fires in Hawaii

Fires in Hawaii

18 January 2010


Thick vog smothers East Hawaii, Puna, Volcano and Ka‘u areas

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The air quality monitor in Hilo is not providing data but from reports we’ve heard it’s bad in Hilo.

Hawaii County Civil Defense reported that persistent light winds are causing poor air quality across Hawaii Island, especially in the communities in upper Puna and Ka‘u, due to emissions from Kilauea volcano. However, heavier than normal vog is being reported Island wide.

The National Weather Service is forecasting wind conditions to stay the same through the holiday weeked. Individual reactions to the emmissions in your area will vary.

Elevated levels of SO2 can cause breathing problems in individuals, especially those with pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis. If you have respiratory conditions and live or work in an area being impacted by smoke or vog, consider taking precautionary measures.

The DOH offers the following guidelines:

•Stay indoors and close your windows and doors.
•Check that your air conditioner or air purifier is working properly, change filters if necessary.
•If you take medication, make sure you have an adequate supply and use them as directed by your physician. Contact your physician if you need more medication and get clear instructions of what to do if your lung condition suddenly worsens.
•Do not smoke and avoid second-hand smoke.
•Avoid people who have colds and other lung infections and wash your hands thoroughly.
•Get plenty of rest and limit physical exertion.
•Drink plenty of fluids to loosen mucus. Warm beverages seem to work best.
•Contact your physician as soon as any respiratory problem develops.
•If possible leave the affected area.
While these suggestions are intended primarily for persons with respiratory or chronic lung disease, they are also useful for healthy persons during air pollution episodes such as particulates dust, brush fires, firework smoke, or volcanic haze.

For further information regarding air quality contact the Clean Air Branch at 586-4200.

If you wish to obtain additional information on respiratory health contact the American Lung Association of Hawai’i at 537-5966 or visit their website at

For more information visit the Hawaii 24/7 Weather Page for current SO2 conditions on the Big Island.



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