Fewer fires are caused by fireworks this year
A boy admits playing with fireworks in a Lahaina blaze that burned 180 acres
Fireworks likely ignited a fire that devoured 180 acres of brush in Lahaina and another that posed a danger to homes in Waialae Iki, although fireworks-linked blazes were down this Fourth of July.
A juvenile boy admitted he was playing with fireworks when a brush fire started behind the Lahaina Aquatic Center, Maui Fire Department Battalion Chief Jeff Shaffer said.
The Lahaina brush fire, which started Tuesday, was 90 percent contained, the county said yesterday afternoon.
Shaffer said there were four youths in the area when the fire began Wednesday morning, including one boy who took responsibility for playing with fireworks.
Maui County spokeswoman Mahina Martin said investigators have not determined if the fire was started intentionally.
The preliminary number of probable fireworks-related fires on the Fourth of July was down from last year.
Martin said Maui figures were not readily available yesterday, but 911 fire calls were low -- 20 compared with 51 last year.
"I assume it's because people are mindful of what's been going on here," she said, adding that a half-dozen small fires burned yesterday.
On Oahu, fires linked to fireworks dropped to 60 from 78 last year. Total fires were also lower -- 81 this year compared with 113 last year.
The Waialae Iki fire had the largest response on Oahu, with five companies responding to the 8 p.m. blaze. They quickly contained it to less than an acre.
Big Island firefighters responded to one fireworks-related brush fire and one medical call for a burned hand, which was treated at the scene.
Hawaii County Fire Assistant Chief Quince Mento said, "Overall it was a really slow day because it was wet, especially on the Windward side."
On Kauai, two small brush fires could be related to fireworks, said the county spokeswoman, but said she could not say for sure. The Fire Department and Wilcox Memorial Hospital reported no fireworks-related injuries.
Meanwhile, Maui fire officials are continuing to investigate the cause of a brush fire that started in Olowalu on June 27.
The Olowalu fire spread north to Launiupoko and burned two homes and thousands of acres of brush, and stranded visitors as well as residents, forcing hundreds to stay at emergency shelters.