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Investigators suspect Kona brush fires intentionally set

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At least two of the three North Kona brush fires on the Big Island’s west side this week near the Mamalahoa Highway appear to be suspicious in nature, according to Hawaii County fire officials.

No structures were damaged as a result of the fires.

All three fires in the Puu Anahulu Game Management Area have been contained, according to the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, which dispatched 31 personnel, five trucks, one bulldozer and one water tender to battle the fires.

The first fire was reported at 3:33 p.m. Monday on the mauka side of Hawaii Belt Road, also known as Route 190, in the area of the 14-mile marker in Kailua-Kona. That brush fire consumed 588 acres. The fire spread north from the mauka side of the roadway towards the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, approximately four miles east and approximately two miles south along Hawaii Belt Road. 

On Tuesday at 3:54 p.m., Kona police and fire personnel responded to a report of a brush fire on the mauka side of Hawaii Belt Road in the area of the 16-mile marker in the area of Puanahulu. The fire spread from the mauka side of the roadway and headed south in the direction of the Puulani Estates Subdivision, burning approximately 150 acres of vacant land. 

A third brush fire was reported in the area of the 23-mile marker, also on Hawaii Belt Road. Fire personnel were able to quickly extinguish that fire, which burned approximately a quarter of an acre. 

Big Island police are continuing the investigation into the cause of the fires. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Levon Stevens, at 326-4646, extension 226. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.

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