Big Island police launch arson investigation into Ka‘ū wildfire

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The Hawai‘i Police Department has initiated an arson investigation after a brush fire in Ka‘ū was determined to have started under suspicious circumstances.

At 1:17 p.m. Aug. 9, the Hawai‘i Fire Department received a report of several brush fires on Mill Camp Road in Pāhala. Upon arrival, firefighters determined there were two separate fires burning on each side the road. Although they were burning in the same general area, the origin of each fire appeared to be different.

Detectives from the department’s Area II Criminal Investigation Section responded to the scene and determined that one of the fires had burned about a quarter-acre on the east side of Mill Camp Road and was the result of an unattended cooking fire that set nearby brush ablaze.

It was then determined the second fire, which also burned an area of about a quarter-acre on the west side of the road, might have been intentionally set. An incendiary device was found on the roadway in the area where investigators think the wildfire originated.


Both fires were quickly brought under control and extinguished by Hawai‘i Fire Department personnel. No injuries were reported and no property loss was sustained.

During their investigation, detectives determined that shortly after the fires started, a man driving a green ATV was seen leaving the area of Mill Camp Road. The identity of the man is unknown.

Police think the fires in Pāhala are not related to the wildfires in North and South Kohala. The cause of those fires is undetermined.


Anyone with information about the wildfires on Mill Camp Road in Pāhala is encouraged to contact Detective Donovan Kohara at 808-960-3118 or via email at [email protected]. You can also call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 808-935-3311.

Those who want to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 808-961-8300.

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