Fireworks keep crews
busy battling blazes

Firefighters were kept busy yesterday snuffing out scores of minor brush and rubbish fires, with more than half likely started by fireworks.

The Honolulu Fire Department tallied 43 brush fires and 11 rubbish fires as of 8:45 p.m. yesterday, said fire Capt. Emmit Kane. "We suspect the ratio is about the same (as last year)."

Kane said the general consensus is that more than half are fireworks-related, though an accurate count could not be taken last night since firefighters were too occupied responding to numerous fire calls.

During last year's Fourth of July, the Honolulu Fire Department responded to 70 fire- related alarms, 53 of which were suspected to be fireworks-related.

Most were small fires handled with one company within a half-hour, Kane said.

But flying embers from a brush fire in the Pearlridge area lit a couple of roof shakes atop a nearby townhouse off Moanalua Loop and Kaonohi Street.

Pearlridge resident Eve Colton credits the Fire Department's quick response in preventing the brush fire from causing much damage at her townhouse complex, the Harbor Pointe, at 98-945 Moanalua Road.

She said neighbors believe the blaze was started by fireworks.

Brush fires included ones in Ewa, Waipahu and Makaha.

Police diverted westbound traffic on Farrington Highway in Makaha due to a brush fire near Kili Drive at about 5:44 p.m. yesterday.

"We've already had a tough brush fire season as it is," Kane said last night. "This evening, it's even more of what we've seen this year."

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