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Fire may have been intentionally set by fireworks, Maui firefighters say

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:10 a.m. HST, Jul 16, 2013

A fire that burned more than 65 acres of brush in Kaupo, Maui, over the weekend may have been intentionally set because firework remnants were found at the scene, fire investigators said Monday.

Remains of Ground Bloom Flowers were recovered Sunday.

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

Fire Chief Jeff Murray said people can set off fireworks but during certain holiday events such as Independence Day or New Year's Eve although no permit is needed to buy or set off legal fireworks.

He also noted that the time of day the fireworks were lit indicates 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," Murray said. "We have had a number of brush fires 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."

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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