Investigators suspect Maui brush fire intentionally set

Image: Kevin Olson
Image: Kevin Olson

MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fire investigators have determined that a wildfire that consumed more than 65 acres of brush in Kaupo over the weekend was likely to have been intentionally set.

Remains of a type of fireworks known as "Ground Bloom Flowers" were recovered from the scene Sunday.

The fire was first reported shortly after 3 p.m. on Saturday on the Ulupalakua side of Manawainui Gulch in Kaupo. Fire fighters battled the blaze all weekend and it was finally reported fully extinguished at 6:30 a.m. Monday.

In response to the discovery of the fireworks remains, Fire Chief Jeff Murray pointed out that although no permit is needed to buy or set off legal fireworks on Maui, residents can only do so during certain holiday events such as Independence Day or New Year's Eve. Otherwise, Maui County prohibits the use of fireworks outside these dates.

He 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," said Chief Murray. "We have had a number of brushfires this summer, and this one tied up our fire fighters all weekend long. This sort of reckless behavior needs to stop, otherwise someone may get hurt."

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.

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