Maui investigators: Brush fire may have been intentionally set by fireworks

Courtesy: Kevin J. Olson/www.kevinjohnolsonphotography.com
Courtesy: Kevin J. Olson/www.kevinjohnolsonphotography.com

A wildfire on Maui that consumed more than 65 acres of brush in Kaupo over the weekend was likely to have been intentionally set, according to Maui Fire Department investigators.

Officials say remains of a type of fireworks known as “Ground Bloom Flowers” were recovered from the scene on Sunday.

The fire was reported shortly after 3 p.m. Saturday on the Ulupalakua side of Manawainui Gulch in Kaupo. The flames were extinguished at about 6:30 a.m. Monday.

Fire Chief Jeff Murray pointed out that although no permit is needed to buy or set off legal fireworks, residents can only do so during certain holiday events such as Independence Day or New Year’s Eve. Maui County prohibits the use of fireworks outside of those dates. Chief Murray also noted that the time of day the fireworks were lit in the Kaupo incident indicate that this fire may have not been accidental.

“People usually watch fireworks at night, which is odd that these fireworks were set off in the middle of the afternoon,” Chief Murray said. “We have had a number of brushfires this summer, and this one tied up our firefighters all weekend long. This sort of reckless behavior needs to stop, otherwise someone may get hurt.”

Officials say another fire in back of Kmart on Saturday burned about half an acre of dry grass and shrubbery. Investigators said that fire was suspected to have originated from a homeless encampment.

Related story: Maui firefighters put out brush fire near Manawainui Gulch

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