Firefighters deal with more ‘suspicious’ brush fires near Makakilo

Local News

Firefighters battled three brush fires just off the H-1 Freeway near Makakilo Sunday morning. It’s the second round of wildfires in that area in less than a week and the Honolulu Fire Department is once again calling it “suspicious.”

The HFD responded to the fires around 9:30 a.m. near the freeway’s north-south off-ramp, and while no one got hurt, the situation is still concerning.

The three separate fires were about a quarter-mile apart from each other and a total of up to three acres burned.

On Monday evening, less than a week ago, Honolulu firefighters battled another suspicious brush fire in the same area just off the H1.

“How can it happen again and again in the same area?,” said retired HFD captain Richard Soo. “It just seems to me there is someone out there that wants to cause a whole response of our fire department, maliciously.”

Luckily, no one was hurt on either occasion, but Soo worries justice won’t be served if the culprits aren’t caught.

“In my experience, when it comes to brush fires, it’s very, very hard,” he said. “It’s almost like you have to be there right when they’re starting the fire, or coming out the brush as the fires are occuring.”

HFD recently reported 256 wildfires were determined “intentional” within the past five years, and nearly 1,400 more were of a “undetermined” nature. The department said there’s a strong possibility those fires were intentional, as well.

“Well, I think the statistics will prove that,” responded Soo, when asked if he believed arsonists are responsible for the fires.

“I don’t see the police arresting anyone hardly when it comes to fire,” he said, “beause it’s hard to get the evidence. You literally have to have the smoking gun in your hand.”

He hopes a concerted effort by all concerned can help pin down a fire-starter. “The general public, if they see something suspicious on the highways, take the license number down and report it to the police. Let’s all join in and help solve the problem.”

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