What might be described as a rash of burning sensations erupted around the state on the Fourth of July. On the Big Island, O’ahu and Kaua’i – fire crews were faced with dozens of brush fires charring hundreds of acres.
On Maui, there were at least five notable blazes Saturday and at least two are being termed “suspicious.”
At 2:01 p.m Saturday, firefighters responded to a reported brush fire near Moi Place and Piilani Highway. Kihei firefighters were on scene at 2:10 p.m. and worked to contain a brush fire between Kaiola Place and Piilani Highway. Moi Place bordered the fire area to the south. There were five fire units from Kihei, Wailea and Kahului on scene mopping up a two to three-acre brush fire. Piilani Highway was briefly closed while crews battled the fire. This fire’s cause is still under investigation.
At 4:05 p.m. Saturday, emergency dispatchers received a call for another brush fire starting up about 150 yards to the south of where crews were mopping up at the first fire. Firefighters disconnected fire hoses and drove down the street to attack the second fire, which was about 40 feet wide and around 400 feet long. There were several homes surrounding the fire so crews worked quickly to contain it about 15 minutes later.
Cause is still under investigation, but it does appear suspicious. There’s considerable distance between the two fires, so we do not think it was an ember from the first fire. The southbound lane of Piilani Highway was closed for firefighter safety while they were working on the highway shoulder.
It is unknown if fireworks played a roll in either of the fires – or any of the dozens of blazes that flared across the state.
Also on Saturday, a fire caused about $100,000 damage in Happy Valley – displacing a family who had escaped unharmed. Another fire flared up in Lahaina Saturday afternoon and a small fire was quickly doused in Pa’ia.