Kalaeloa fires trigger arson concerns - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kalaeloa fires trigger arson concerns

KALAELOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Ash on the ground and scorched tree limbs litter an acre in Kalaeloa where a brushfire recently burned.

"The disturbing thing is that the fire was quite intense and went up into the trees and burned a lot of these large trees. We're hoping they'll survive," Ewa Beach resident John Bond said.

He said over the past two months brushfires have popped up in several spots in Kalaeloa on property leased by developer Hunt Hawaii.

Hunt chief operating officer Alan Ong said he's aware of three fires.

"The more recent ones seem to be more located in the eastern portion of our land holdings. They range from an acre to something significantly smaller," he said. "There are no structures that have been damaged. It's mostly vacant land."

Bond believes the fires were set on purpose because of the proximity to busy streets.

"We suspect they're just driving by in a car and they've got a cigarette butt or something else they can flick out into the dry grass," he said.

One recent blaze burned near the corner of Hornet Street and Saratoga Avenue, about a block from Barbers Point Elementary School. The entire area was once part of Barbers Point Naval Air Station.

Bond said Navy security patrolled it until October of last year.

"Shortly after that the people got the message that it was okay to do whatever they wanted out here," he said.

Ong said a lot has improved since the company took over the property, but illegal dumping and vandalism are ongoing issues. He's asking the public for help.

"If anybody should drive by and see any kind of suspicious activity or suspect something might be going on, I encourage them to call the police. Dial 911 and report it," he said.

Hunt plans to increase its security patrols, and will meet with federal, state and city officials on Thursday to discuss the recent brushfires.

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