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Police Launch Arson Investigation into Ka‘ū Wildfire

by Thunda

Hawai’i Island police have initiated an arson investigation after a brush fire in Ka‘ū was determined to have started under suspicious circumstances.

On Wednesday, August 9, 2023, at 1:17 p.m., 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: one on either side of Mill Camp Road. Although they were burning in the same general area, the origin of each fire appeared to be different. 

Detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigation Section responded to the fire scene and were able to determine that one of the fires had burned an area approximately a quarter acre in size on the east side of Mill Camp Road. They determined that this wildfire was a result of an unattended cooking fire that caught nearby brush on fire. 

It was then determined that the second fire, which also burned an area approximately a quarter acre in size on the west side of Mill Camp Road, may have been intentionally set. An incendiary device was found on the roadway in the area where investigators believe 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 as a result of these wildfires.

During their investigation, detectives determined that shortly after the fires started a male operating a green All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) was seen leaving the area of Mill Camp Road. The identity of the male is unknown at this time.

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

Anyone with information on the wildfires on Mill Camp Road in Pāhala is encouraged to contact Detective Donovan Kohara at (808) 960-3118; or via email at They may also contact the police department’s non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311.

Citizens who wish to remain anonymous can make an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300 and be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers does not record any calls or subscribe to caller ID.

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