HFD: Kailua wildfire intentionally set

KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Fire Department says that a fire that came dangerously close to homes in Kailua on Tuesday was intentionally set. Investigators say it appears that the fire was set in multiple locations.

HFD will now refer the case to the Honolulu Police Department, HFD investigators will work with HPD on the case.

Meanwhile, HFD today declared the fire 90 percent contained.  The H-3 freeway reopened in both directions shortly before 1:30 p.m. HFD crews continue to monitor the area.

Families at the Yacht Club Terrace town homes in Kaneohe anxiously watched the flames burning above their homes on Tuesday.

"I've been here 26 years and never seen anything like this. This is pretty rough. So we're hoping it won't jump the H-3. If it does, we'll have to evacuate," said resident Don Fern.

Police stopped by to warn residents to be prepared to evacuate if needed.

"I'm a little concerned cause we live right here. I just want to make sure it doesn't jump over H-3 and his this side," said resident Nicolette Villasenor.

The fire started at about 1 p.m. Tuesday on the other side of the ridge in the Kalaheo Hillside community. Police say the blaze began behind the Kailua Assembly of God.

"When we first got here it was a tiny little patch behind the church and just one or two fire trucks. Then the wind just picked it up and took it over the hillside. It was pretty crazy," said Kailua resident Robert Stoner.

Two helicopters assisted fire crews on the ground. At one point, the flames came as close as 25 yards from homes, according to fire officials.

"We have our entire Prius stocked full of clothes, suitcases with everything we could think of that we want to keep safe. Then we have my cats in boxes," said resident Hallie Pound.

"Most of the smoke and ash are blowing away from homes, but it's very visible. Our dispatch center has been receiving calls all the way from Ewa Beach," said HFD Capt. Terry Seelig.

The flames scorched an estimated 400 acres, including the rock above Kalaheo High School that seniors traditionally paint.

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