Maui blaze sparked by fireworks now fully contained

Maui blaze sparked by fireworks now fully contained
Courtesy: Guy Hamilton
Courtesy: Guy Hamilton

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

WAILUKU, Maui (HawaiiNewsNow) – Tuesday afternoon the fire that already scorched 24 acres in Wailuku was declared fully contained, after a significant flare-up late Monday. The fireworks debate on Maui however is still burning.

The initial fire started at 8:00 Sunday night and several viewers sent in pictures and video showing huge flames racing up the hill toward homes in the Happy Valley area.

"There's a 30 foot telephone poll that's fully engulfed with the flames actually exceeding the height of the poll," said Guy Martin, witness and Wailuku resident.

In the morning light you could see the fire came just ten feet to destroying homes on both the top and bottom of the hill.

"Its frightening because you become really aware that there is not really any containment of it and it has a mind of its own and has a lot of force.  I was standing next to a whole ridge line of houses which were downwind of the fire line and it's a scary thing to see that coming at you because you don't really know, anything can happen," said Hamilton.

The fire still isn't going out easily. It flared up again and the fire department helicopter quickly went to work dousing the flames. Fortunately no homes were damaged in the main fire or the flare up.

The whole thing is being blamed on fireworks.  Numerous witnesses reported seeing aerial fireworks in the area right before the fire broke out.

"Our investigators were on scene since last night and they've gone through the area and the witness accounts. They've combed the area today and found evidence of fireworks at the point of origin of the fire," said Mahina Martin, Maui County Communications Director.

A fireworks ban hasn't been introduced yet in Maui but the city plans to take a look at the issue.

"We're in the middle of our worst drought in 30 years it's something our community is interested in and it's something that comes up often whenever there are fires during this drought, the legislation is an opportunity to address it, but it has to go through a process that will involve community input as well," said Martin.

The Maui Mayor and Fire Chief have both been supportive of a fireworks ban. Right now there is no timeline on when new legislation will be introduced.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.