Sunday's huge brush fire in the gulch east of Waipio along Mililani Memorial Park Road closed the H-2 freeway for more than four hours.

Fireworks are hot
on HFD’s mind

Officials urge caution to
residents celebrating July 4

Fireworks go on sale tomorrow, but fire officials worried about a continuing string of brush fires recommend leaving the pyrotechnics to the professionals.

Display safety

The Fire Department's safety tips for this weekend include:

» Use only approved fireworks from a licensed retail outlet.
» Follow manufacturer instructions.
» Ensure that others are out of range before lighting fireworks.
» Use a smooth, flat surface away from dry vegetation and flammable materials when lighting fireworks.
» Have a garden hose or water on hand.

July Fourth shows

Several professional fireworks shows are scheduled this Fourth of July weekend:

» Kaneohe Marine Corps Base: 10:30 p.m.

» Aloha Tower: 8:45 p.m.

» Magic Island at Ala Moana: 8 p.m.
» Kailua Beach Park: 8 p.m.
» Pearl Harbor: 8:30 p.m.
» Schofield Barracks: 8:30 p.m.
» Kaneohe Marine Corps Base: 10:45 p.m.

Sunday's Mililani brush fire that forced police to close the H-2 freeway for more than four hours was the 326th brush fire of the year, compared with 148 at the same time period in 2004, fire Capt. Kenison Tejada said.

He noted that although there were slightly more brush fires in 2003 during the state's last busy brush fire season, fire crews are spending more time this year tending to bigger blazes.

"The brush fires are taxing our resources, which takes away from our ability to respond quickly to the rest of the island," Capt. Tejada said. "If this week stays dry and windy, we can expect a busy weekend."

Tejada said there would be no extra personnel on duty, but off-duty firefighters would be on call.

The weather forecast for this weekend predicts partly cloudy skies with tradewinds between 10 and 20 mph.

Tejada said the increase in permits to purchase fireworks might also indicate a busier holiday weekend than last year. As of Saturday, Oahu satellite city halls have sold 330 permits, compared with a total of 293 permits issued last year for the holiday, city spokesman Bill Brennan said.

Permits will be on sale until Saturday, while fireworks will remain on sale until Monday.

Tejada notes there have been a couple of cases of people purchasing multiple permits, which might account for the increase in sales.

According to the state law, there is no limit to the number of permits a person can get, but each $25 permit allows a person to purchase 5,000 non-aerial firecrackers and ignite them between 1 and 9 p.m. Monday.

"If more residents choose to do fireworks this year, I hope they exercise caution," Tejada said.

Last year, the majority of the 32 people who were treated in hospital emergency rooms across the state for injuries associated with fireworks were minors, Dan Galanis of the state Department of Health Injury Prevention Program said.

Tejada wants to remind residents that it is unlawful to allow minors to use fireworks without adult supervision or for people to set fireworks off near schools, public buildings, health care facilities or places of worship.

Honolulu Fire Department

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