Makaha Brush Fire Comes Close To Homes

Mario Calantoc
Mario Calantoc
Ann Jones
Ann Jones
Battalion Chief Wes Taniyama
Battalion Chief Wes Taniyama
Joey Balai
Joey Balai

By Beth Hillyer

(KHNL) - Firefighters were busy battling dozens of brush fires over the New Year holiday.

But overall serious incidents are down.

Last year there were more than one hundred brush fires. This year - around 50.

There were large public fireworks displays

And then there were local style get-togethers.

Across Oahu, the sky was filled with fireworks.

"It was a nice display. Just like Disneyland!" one man told us.

Kids popped the small stuff and enjoyed fountains and sparklers. There were lots of illegal aerials.

"I was surprised, I didn't hear too many sirens or fires around," said Kalihi resident Mario Calantoc.

No house fires, but several brush fires caused by fireworks.

"Actually my husband looked out and saw the fire, flames and yelled 'fire!'" said homeowner Ann Jones.

Voracious orange flames in Makaha had homeowners and firefighters worried.

"It comes dangerously close to homes and it's only gonna take one flick of the wind and one of these houses or lives may be in danger," said Honolulu Fire Department Battalion Chief Wes Taniyama.

This is the 4th day in a row firefighters have been called to the empty field behind Makaha Elementary. To give you an idea of how this fire likely started, the evidence may be in a can of fireworks.

"This kinda stuff happens every year around thsi time and it's just ignorant young people doing this not respecting Aina," said Joey Balai of Makaha.

The fire department will ask lawmakers to pass a total ban on fireworks, but many people object.

"It's good entertainment and people love fireworks," said Luis Garcia of Makaha. "I don't think an all out ban would be a solution."

Other than the brush fires, for firefighters it's a good start to the new year.

"Been lucky haven't lost property yet that is our biggest fear and major concern saving these property," said Battalion Chief Taniyama.

The fire department was quick to handle all of the incidents because they beefed up manning over the holiday weekend.