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Phone lines for brush fire tips in place

LIHUE — The tip line for people to call to offer help on the 100 suspicious brush fires that have burned around the island since December is now set up.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the CrimeStoppers number at 246-8300. Anonymous tips may be left Monday through Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tipsters may also call Kauai Police Department Lt. Mark Ozaki at 241-1688.

The CrimeStoppers program offers cash rewards to anyone furnishing anonymous information that leads to an arrest or conviction of the serial arsonist(s). The $5,000 reward being offered for this case is five times the usual $1,000 amount offered by CrimeStoppers.

When officials announced the reward earlier this week, the lines weren’t set up.

Several local businesses and community groups contributed funds to help boost the size of the reward, including Waimea Plantation Cottages, Grove Farm, the Grand Hyatt Kauai, Visitor Aloha Society of Kauai, the Kauai Visitor’s Bureau, and other anonymous donors.

Fire Prevention Capt. Daryl Date is also urging the public to exercise additional caution due to the island’s drought conditions.

“We’ve had fires that have started with the sun shining through the glass of a bottle of water,” Date said. “There are so many different ways that someone can ignite a fire, especially with the brush as dry as it is.”

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