Hawaii real estate agents report selling more homes sight-unseen than ever before

As a real estate agent, Catherine Pennell is used to taking a lot of phone calls. But since April, her phone has been ringing more often than during a typical year — she’s fielding two to three phone calls every day from people looking to move from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii.

“I think people are saying, ‘Life is short.’ It’s a lot of talk because they’re not here yet and they can’t get here yet, but I’ve done more sight-unseen sales than I’ve ever done during the pandemic,” said Pennell, who represents Kauai for KW Kauai Keller Williams. “I’ve done three in the last three months.”

Julie Peters, an agent with Island Boutique Realty on the island of Hawaii, said when wildfire season began in August, she was fielding at least one call each day from California residents wanting to escape the area due to smoke and fire danger.

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HFD says it has contained brush fire above University of Hawaii at Manoa

As a hot Thursday afternoon dragged on, Honolulu firefighters continued to battle a brush fire on Waahila Ridge above the campus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

“Structures are being threatened and fire crews have been positioned to protect homes in the area,” reported HFD Captain Jeff Roache, adding no injuries had been reported and it was unknown how many acres had burned so far.

“The brush fire is also threatening power lines and equipment,” Roache said.

UPDATE: The fire was contained this evening, with small flare ups within the burned out area, HFD’s Roache reported at about 7:30 p.m.

Shortly before 10:30 a.m. Thursday HFD responded to a fire at 2640 Dole Street with 18 units staffed with 58 personnel, the captain reported; after the first unit arrived to find “a working wildland fire,” HFD personnel established command, requested additional resources “and initiated a ground fire attack to

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