Largest Wildfire Ever On Hawaii’s Big Island Causes Thousands To Evacuate

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The largest wildfire ever recorded on Hawaii’s Big Island has caused thousands of residents to evacuate and destroyed two homes over the weekend, The Associated Press (AP) reported Tuesday.

Evacuation orders were lifted, but strong winds could necessitate further evacuation measures, USA Today reported. Authorities warned that evacuation orders could be reinstated and that residents should be on alert to have to flee again, according to the AP.

“It’s the biggest (fire) we’ve ever had on this island,” Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth said. “With the drought conditions that we’ve had, it is of concern. You see something like this where you’re putting thousands of homes in danger, it’s very concerning.”

The National Weather Service reported that strong winds and dry conditions will persist throughout the region Tuesday and lessen only slightly Wednesday. (RELATED: ‘Conditions They Have Never Seen Before’: Deadly Wildfires Ravage Nearly 1 Million Acres Of Land Across Western US)

Recently, fires have plagued the western United States.

Hawaii has experienced some of the most severe drought conditions in recent years, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

“Our current wind forecast is showing wind patterns between 18 to 20 mph, with gusts up to 40 mph,” Hawaii County Fire Chief Kazuo Todd said Sunday night, according to Fox News. “So while throughout the evening our crews will be working to build fire breaks with dozers and back burns, this temporary lift on the mandatory evacuation may have to be reinforced later on due to prevailing weather patterns.”

Todd warned that people who lives nearby could be overwhelmed with smoke and anyone with breathing problems or similar health risks should find another place to stay for the time being.