Hauʻula – The dumping of charcoals at the base of a shower tree at a Windward Oʻahu beach park and campground resulted the tree’s destruction this past weekend.
On Saturday, October 14, just after 7:30 p.m., personnel from the Honolulu Fire Department out of Hauʻula responded to a tree fire at Kokololio Beach Park.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but not before the base of the tree was destroyed.
Following an inspection by the Department of Parks and Recreation Division of Urban Forestry, the tree was determined to be structurally unsound as a result of the fire damage. An additional crew was dispatched and removed the tree on Tuesday.
The Department of Parks and Recreation would like to take this opportunity to remind park users and campers to properly dispose of their charcoal, burnt wood, or other organic fire-fueling material in the designated charcoal disposal bins.
Disposing of these materials in regular trash cans, near trees, on other plant life, or on the beach, poses a safety and environmental hazard. The coals may appear to be extinguished but can be reignited. This is especially true if you bury used coals in the sand. The sand insulates the heat of the embers and can keep them hot for hours. This poses a severe safety hazard to other beachgoers who cannot see the danger just beneath the surface. In the past, this has resulted in significant injury.
Unfortunately, the damage done by the improper dumping of burnt materials and careless use of cooking apparatus can be seen at several parks, including the state’s busiest park, Ala Moana Regional Park. Staff have observed dozens of sites by trees, on benches, and in open areas where improper coal dumping or burns from cooking devices are apparent.
Other alternative means of cooking/barbecuing, such as propane powered grills, are encouraged as the fire produced by such equipment can be more easily controlled.