A 5-acre brush fire in Kailua-Kona was reportedly started Saturday by children illegally playing with fireworks, according to the Hawaii County Fire Department.
The fire, which burned dead trees and tall grass on the mauka side of Kuakini Highway, was reported at 3:39 p.m. It came within about 100 yards of the Duarte Apartments.
Firefighters made a defensive attack from the foot of the fire. With the aid of a county helicopter performing water drops, firefighters brought the blaze completely under control by 5 p.m. Meanwhile, Big Island police detoured traffic.
West Hawaii Battalion Chief Ty Medeiros said there was a report of children firing rockets into the field and that information was turned over the Hawaii Police Department for a possible arson investigation.
According to Medeiros, there’s a common misconception among some residents that it’s OK to use fireworks after Jan. 1. He said fireworks in Hawaii County are only allowed between 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve to 1 a.m. New Year’s Day.
Sunday morning, three fire units were still on the scene, cleaning up any hot spots, Medeiros said.