Firefighters Brace for Summer Brush Fires

HONOLULU (KHNL) - It's shaping up to be a hot, dry summer. And that has Honolulu firefighters concerned with 4th of July celebrations just around the corner.

"The brush might look green but you know it can burn and there can be a big brush fire," said Capt. Kenison Tejada. "We're preparing for the worst and hoping for the best."

There were more than 990 brush fires on Oahu last year. There have been 225 so far this year, down from 330 at the same time last year.

Tejada says the non-stop rains earlier this year pushed brush fire season back a few weeks. All the grass that has grown is starting to brown now. You can see the difference in the hillside in Nanakuli Valley.

"We haven't had rain in a while, so everything is kinda dry," said Nanakuli resident Jordan Salud. "Looks dry enough to start a fire."

Of course firefighters are hoping that doesn't happen.

"Even the areas that don't look really dry can still burn," said Tejada. "So people still need to treat this as the brushfire season and they need to plan accordingly."

During the holiday, firefighters urge people to visit one of the large public fireworks displays around the island. If you want to burn firecrackers, you need to pick up a permit from any Satellite City Hall.

Permits are $25 for 5,000 firecrackers. There's no limit on the amount of permits you can buy.

Despite the warnings, firefighters want everyone to enjoy the celebrations. Salud is sure the holiday will be loud, but safe.

"Everybody pops firecrackers," he said. "But I'm sure everybody learned from last year, so we'll be okay."