fireworks safety

Over $1 million: Cost of Maui Brush Fire That Moved to Destroy Two Homes

Credit: KITV4

Credit: KITV4

Our hearts go out to those that suffered home damage or loss on Wednesday afternoon. Aside from the economic loss, we can only imagine the feeling of losing your possessions, your home, and the time that will be spent with the recovery process. 

Make sure to check out the ReadySetGo! Action Guide to learn the easy steps you can take to significantly reduce your risk of home loss in a wildfire. 

3 Brush Fires Started by Fireworks Along Highway 190

"A Hawaii County firefighter douses a brush fire off Highway 190 near mile marker 18 Friday afternoon." Laura Ruminski / West Hawaii Today

"A Hawaii County firefighter douses a brush fire off Highway 190 near mile marker 18 Friday afternoon." Laura Ruminski / West Hawaii Today

Mahalo to the good Samaritan who put out the first fire -- keeping a fire extinguisher in your vehicle is highly recommended. 

The Hawaii Police Department said it is investigating the fires and thinks fireworks started the blazes.

Anyone with information or who might have witnessed the fires being started is urged to call Detective Carrie Akina at 326-4646, ext. 277.

From the Source:

Fireworks appear to have sparked three brush fires reported within an hour Friday that forced a road closure on Highway 190 near Puuanahulu.

The blazes were ignited at mile markers 18, 21 and 26, starting shortly after 11 a.m., according to Hawaii Fire Department officials.

The first was put out by Stafford Lombard, who was driving by on his way to Hilo.

Fire officials say Lombard got out of his car and used a fire extinguisher. The driver of a cement mixer truck stopped to assist and smothered the remaining flames with a hose. Firefighters came and mopped up.

"Dodged a Bullet": Illegal Aerials Lit Up Much of Oahu On New Year's

Credit: Hawaii News Now

Credit: Hawaii News Now

Every year, fireworks pose a danger to safety due to injury and from fires, including brushfires. Thanks to vigilant neighbors, a little bit of luck, and hard-working first responders, the worst case scenario was averted. A brushfire did threaten homes in Hawaii Kai. HWMO is working closely with residents in Kamilonui-Mariner's Cove to help them become the first Firewise Community on Oahu. 

From the Source:

"We dodged a bullet," said Honolulu Fire Department Capt. Scot Seguirant, in a news conference on Monday.

"Last year was a bad year. This year has been better, but how many fires were not reported is another question. And then quick actions from neighbors, putting out fires ... is what really saved us this year."

"A brush fire in Hawaii Kai was put out quickly, but at one point, the flames were inching closer to homes at the top of a ridge."

3 Acre Lahaina Brush Fire Sparked By Fireworks

Another testament to why it is so important to teach our keiki about fireworks safety - not only are fireworks an injury risk but when used near dry vegetation, they can be a major fire hazard. We are happy to hear that the keiki were safe from the fire and that one of them took ownership and called in the fire.  

"West Maui fire crews responded to a brush fire reported mauka of Hookahua Street and on the south side of Lahainaluna Road at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 8, 2017."

"No structures were damaged, but flames came to within 40 feet of one home. An
electrical power pole for a 69,000 volt transmission line had been damaged in the fire and was threatening to collapse, hampering firefighter’s efforts to mop up the fire which scorched a total of 3 acres."

"The brush fire was ruled accidental after it was discovered that three 12-year-old boys were playing with fireworks and the strong winds blew it towards dry grass setting it on fire. One of the boys did the right thing and quickly called 911 to report what had happened."

No Injuries or Structure Damage in West Hawaii July 4th Fires

"The Hawaii Fire Department responded to a brush fire off Kawaihae Road on Tuesday night. Courtesy Colin Edsman"

"The Hawaii Fire Department responded to a brush fire off Kawaihae Road on Tuesday night. Courtesy Colin Edsman"

Peak fire season is here and South Kohala has above normal fire potential this summer. Be prepared and check out the Wildfire Lookout! webpage for tips on how to better prepare your home, family, and community for wildfire.

From the Source:

"The largest fire reported was a brush fire across a couple of acres near Kamuela View Estates along Kawaihae Road, said West Hawaii Battalion Chief John Whitman. Police said shortly before 11:30 Tuesday night that the road was closed near the 61-mile marker as a result of the fire.

Whitman said the fire was possibly caused by fireworks and that it was under control within a couple hours."

12 Fires, 1 Injury During 4th of July Holiday on Maui

"Maui fireworks injuries. Maui Now graphic. Background image: Rachael Johnson"

"Maui fireworks injuries. Maui Now graphic. Background image: Rachael Johnson"

Maui County firefighters were kept busy on 4th of July. We commend and thank them for their amazing efforts responding to 12 fire incidents, including 5 brushfires, and a fireworks-related injury on what usually is a busy day for them. We wish for a speedy recovery for the girl injured from the fireworks incident.

From the Source:

"There were also five brush fires. One occurred on Ala Ekahi St. in Hoʻolehua, Molokaʻi and was the only brush fire related to fireworks. Fire officials say the incident is believed to have been started by aerial fireworks.

The four other brush fires occurred on Maui, in Kīhei, Kahului, and Puʻunēnē. Three of the fires were smaller than 1,000 square feet and one was around five acres in size. Three had undetermined causes and one was determined to be intentionally set after a witness reported seeing a male individual ignite the brush near the canoe hale on North Kīhei Road, and then flee the scene.

The five acre brush fire occurred at 11:27 p.m., July 4, off of South Firebreak Rd. next to the Hawaiian Cement facility, a mile east of Mokulele Highway. The cause of that fire was undetermined. Two engines and two water tankers from Kahului and Wailea remained on scene to mop-up the area until noon on Wednesday."

How to Enjoy Fourth of July Fireworks and Firecrackers

Credit: HWMO

Here is some important County-by-County information on July 4th Weekend fireworks permitting and public shows. Fireworks are a common cause of brushfires in dry, grassy areas - attend and enjoy public fireworks displays to maximize safety and fire protection.

From the Source: 

  • "Fireworks can be dangerous, causing serious burns and eye injuries.
  • Young children and fireworks do not mix. Never give fireworks, even sparklers to young children. Sparklers burn at temperatures of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Older children should only use fireworks under the direct supervision of an adult.
  • Always read and follow all warnings and instructions listed by the manufacturer for the safe use and handling of fireworks.
  • Make sure you have a clear, flat area to use the fireworks; away from structures, dry grass or brush, or other readily ignitable materials.
  • Have a water hose or bucket of water readily available in case of a fire."

Fourth of July a Busy Day for Maui County Fire Crews

" A brush fire near Piilani Highway and Moi Place in Kihei on Sat."

"A brush fire near Piilani Highway and Moi Place in Kihei on Sat."

A standing ovation for our firefighters is in order! Mahalo to Maui Fire for ensuring things didn't get out of hand during an insanely busy period.

From the Source:

"Maui County firefighters responded to more than 10 fire calls, including brush fires, an unscheduled cane fire and a structure fire on Saturday, fire officials said Sunday.

No injuries were reported in any of the incidents, although in at least four brush fire calls, children were seen playing with fireworks prior to the fires beginning, fire officials said."

Where to Watch 4th of July Fireworks in Hawaii

Credit - KHON2

Credit - KHON2

Nothing says Fourth of July like a good fireworks show. This holiday, however, is also the day with the most wildfires on average per year (along with New Year's Eve). HWMO, Hawaii Fire Department, and other fire agencies recommend going to a professional show rather than playing with fireworks at home. We're hoping for an injury-less, wildfire-less 4th of July this year.

Here is a list of shows on each island.

Fireworks Implicated in First of Two Kahului Fires

Find out more about fireworks safety guidelines, so we can help prevent these types of wildfires.

From the Source: 

"Two fires in Kahului burned a total of 3.5 acres on the 4th of July public holiday, fire officials reported.

Maui Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga said the first fire occurred near the Dunes at Maui Lani Golf Course restaurant. While working the Maui Lani brush fire, fire fighters were alerted to another brush fire at nearby Mahaolu and Hoomuku Streets.

Engine companies from Kahului, Wailuku, Makawao, and Air-1 arrived to an area east of the restaurant, with approximately 3 acres of dry brush involved in fire.

The first fire was called under control at 12:20 p.m.

Crews were reported as still on scene as of mid-afternoon conducting mop up operations.

Fire officials reported that no structures were threatened and no damages were reported. The cause of the fire was determined to be fireworks related. Evidence of fireworks were found on scene during the investigation.

In the Mahaolu and Hoomuku Street fires, fire officials say crews responded and arrived to find an area about a half acre in size involved. This fire was also called under control at 12:20 pm and called extinguished at 12:52 p.m. No damages or injuries were reported. The cause of the second fire is undetermined and is still under investigation."

Above: "Fires near the Dunes at Maui Lani Golf Course" Credit: Bino Melendez Jr. 

Above: "Fires near the Dunes at Maui Lani Golf Course" Credit: Bino Melendez Jr. 

Fireworks Permits Go on Sale Sunday (June 29)

Help prevent wildfire and injuries this Fourth of July by complying with county laws and HFD's guidelines. 

From the Source: 

"Fire Chief Darren Rosario announced that fireworks permits will be issued beginning Sunday, June 29, 2014 at the following locations for the upcoming 4th of July celebration. The sites are:
Pinky’s store in Papaikou (808-964-5858);
Hawai‘i Fire Administration Office at 25 Aupuni St. Monday-Friday 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Each permit costs $25.00 and will entitle the holder to purchase up to 5,000 individual firecrackers. Permits will be issued to persons 18 years of age or older and are non-transferable, and non-refundable. Setting off of fireworks is allowed only between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on July 4th. Permits should be visibly displayed at the site of use on July 4th, at the time of the firing.

Permits are not required for novelties and paperless firecrackers. Fireworks sales will begin on June 29, 2014 and will end at 8:00 p.m. on July 4, 2014.

The ban of consumer fireworks on Oahu does not affect Hawai‘i County. Firecrackers (with a valid permit), and consumer fireworks are allowed to be set off during the approved hours of 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm on July 4th only.

Please be advised that it is unlawful to buy, sell, possess, or set off any Aerial Luminary Device such as Sky Lanterns and Hawai‘i Lanterns. Any person in possession of any Aerial Luminary Device, who would like to dispose of it with amnesty, can contact the Fire Department at 932-2912.

Chief Rosario reminds the public that it is illegal for anyone to:

Remove the powder or pyrotechnic contents from any fireworks;
Throw fireworks from a vehicle;
Set off any fireworks:
At any time not within the time period allowed;
Within 1,000 feet of any operating hospital, nursing home, home for the elderly or animal hospital;
In or on any school building or property;
On any highway, alley, street, sidewalk or other public way
In any park, or within 1,000 feet of a church during the periods when services are held.
It is illegal for any person to offer for sale, sell, or give any fireworks to minors, and for any minor to possess, sell, set off, ignite, or otherwise cause to explode any fireworks, except under the immediate supervision of an adult."

Above: "July Ducks Fireworks" Credit: Queen's Marketplace 

Above: "July Ducks Fireworks" Credit: Queen's Marketplace 

Makaha Valley Fire

CONGRATULATIONS! You have found one of the four fires of your scavenger hunt. 

"A firefighter waters down hot spots along a steep slope in Makaha Valley after this week's brushfire, which started Tuesday night and was mostly extinguished by late yesterday afternoon." (Jeff Widener/Honolulu Advertiser)

"A firefighter waters down hot spots along a steep slope in Makaha Valley after this week's brushfire, which started Tuesday night and was mostly extinguished by late yesterday afternoon." (Jeff Widener/Honolulu Advertiser)

The Makaha Valley Fire was the largest wildfire between 2003-2007 that burned during the hooilo season. Pay close attention to the description of the changing weather patterns and vegetation conditions that led up to the fire. Sounds a lot like El Niño 2016!

From the Source:

"'It was just a small fire when we first saw it but it went berserko in a matter of minutes," DeSoto said. "You know what happened last year. If it turns out to be a dry spring and summer, given the amount of rain we had during the fall and all of the foliage that results from it, we could be in for another bad season again.'

Speculation among DeSoto's neighbors is that the fire is the result of someone igniting fireworks in the area."

"The brushfire scorched a mile-long area on the west side of Makaha Valley, burning off all the green and brown grass cover, along with hale koa scrub brush. From Farrington Highway, the charred earth extended along Kili Drive up to a large water tank.

The area burned had no structures, and firefighters struggled to control it because of the steep slopes and remote location. Tejada said it could have been a small fire, but winds caught it and sent it up the slope quickly."

"In 2005, arsonists set more than 700 brushfires on O'ahu. Seven arrests were made, but only one case is being prosecuted, in federal court."