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Tuesday, July 12, 2005



Leeward fires keep
crews battling
in Makakilo

Fire officials say that several fires
looked intentional yesterday

Fire crews from around the island battled numerous brush fires in Leeward Oahu yesterday that investigators believe were all intentionally set.


art

Officials said nobody was injured, but the fires did force several road closures, including portions of the H-1 freeway in Makakilo last night and Kaukama Road.

Police said they closed the freeway because heavy smoke from a large brush fire was "too thick to get through and made it difficult to see." The fire consumed five to 10 acres, starting about 5:39 p.m. across from Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park.

Westbound lanes were closed from the Makakilo offramp for about two hours until police opened the fast lane about 8 p.m. It was another hour before all lanes were reopened. Eastbound traffic was closed for less than an hour from the Honokai Hale subdivision on Farrington Highway before it merges with H-1.

Around 1 p.m. about 60 personnel responded to a blaze in Nanakuli that scorched roughly 50 acres and came within 20 yards of some homes. This was the second brush fire at Kaukama Road and Farrington Highway this month. Firefighters were not able to completely extinguish the fire, so they monitored it overnight.

At 3:05 p.m. firefighters responded to a fire that charred a couple acres in Kalaeloa and forced police to close Fort Barrette Road and Roosevelt Avenue between Fort Barrette and Geiger roads.

At 3:16 p.m., 12 units responded to a 10-acre blaze near Yokohama Bay. Two minutes later, fire crews were called to a fire that damaged about 40 acres near Makaha Valley Towers off of Kili Drive. Firefighters were not able to completely extinguish the blaze, so they monitored it overnight.

Less than two hours later, firefighters were called back to the area, this time responding to a fire on Ikuone Place. The fire only destroyed three acres but came within 30-40 feet of homes, officials said.

"This should really be a concern for the community," said Capt. Kenison Tejada, of the Honolulu Fire Department. "This has been a record year for brush fires in recent history."

There have been more than 535 brush fires to date this year, which is more than double the number of brush fires during the same period in 2004.

The brush fire season is expected to last for another two months, Tejada added.

Honolulu Fire Department
www.honolulufire.org


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