Koloa fire likely started by a lit cigarette

KOLOA — Fire inspectors said Thursday they believe that last week’s fire in Koloa, which originated near Ala Kinoiki and spread to the residential area along Kipuka Street, was most likely started by a cigarette.

“While there is no reason to believe this fire was intentionally set, we continue to urge the public to never throw cigarettes on the ground or out of a car window,” Fire Prevention Captain Daryl Date stated in a news release. “And be sure that cigarettes are completely extinguished before disposing.”

Last week’s fire destroyed a home and a cottage on Kipuka Street and damaged several other properties. The fire had burned through roughly 50 acres of brush before it was extinguished, roughly three hours after it began.

Fire inspectors estimate the fire caused at least $950,000 in damages.

“Fires can be prevented,” Date said. “Please be responsible and help to keep our community safe … Our agricultural landscape here on Kaua‘i can become highly susceptible to wildfires, especially during these dry, hot months.”

He said community members may play a role in fire prevention by following just a few simple tips:

• Be sure cigarettes are extinguished before disposing. Use large, non-combustible ashtrays.

• Keep lawns green. Brown, dry vegetation is a fire hazard.

• Leave at least 30 feet of space between your home and any overhanging trees or bushes, such as guinea grass.

• Clear your roof, gutters and eaves of any leaves and other debris.

• Keep lighters and matches away from children.

• Test smoke alarms monthly.

• Have an emergency evacuation plan and practice it often with your family.

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