Large brush fire burns near homes, prompts closures in Kona

Local News

Crews battled a brush fire in Kona Wednesday.

Fire officials say it started at around 11:37 a.m. in a vacant lot.

“As the fire trucks were pulling up, they had just a hard time getting access just because of the location where it’s at, it’s all interior (between subdivisions),” said area resident Lance Owens. “They were trying to put it out but then the wind picked up and it just swept it up behind the entire subdivision of Kamani Trees.”

Crews made water drops by air, attacked the fire on foot, and maneuvered bulldozers to establish a fire break.

As of 2:30 p.m., it was about 50-percent contained. Crews got the fire fully contained by 9:30 p.m. Twenty-five acres burned.

The blaze prompted the Hawaii Police Department to shut down the intersection of Lako and Kololia streets for much of the day.

The Family Court of the Third Circuit, located at 77-6399 Nalani Street, was closed due to excessive smoke coming into the building.

All documents due during the court closure will be considered timely if filed by the close of business Thursday. Hearings or trials canceled due to the closure shall be rescheduled to the next available date with due regard for any statutory mandates.

Family Court is expected to reopen for business as usual on Thursday.

Last month, authorities issued a request for residents to report suspicious activity after a series of wildfires appeared to be intentionally set, also in the area.

The fire department has not said whether Wednesday’s fire was also intentionally set.

“It’s real frustrating because a majority of these are (arson), you just know it. They come in these cycles,” Owens said. “If you look back over the last 16 years I’ve been here, it’s been pretty consistent.”

A few years ago, Owens said crews built fire breaks around the subdivision.

“I think people were concerned. They saw it happening in other areas,” he said. “We sit in a dry area of Kona and it was out of safety and fear for people with their homes sitting right around that vacant lot.”

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