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Maui officials appeal to public for help preventing wildfires

By Paula Akana
Published On: Jul 23 2013 04:17:00 PM HST

Maui county officials are asking the community to get involved in stopping costly and destructive brush fires. This effort is after nearly 90 acres of land burned--due to fireworks.

HONOLULU -

With nearly 90 acres of land on Maui burned due to fireworks this summer, county officials are asking the community to help prevent wildfires.

Mayor Alan Arakawa and Maui Fire Chief Jeff Murray are coming  together to ask the community to be vigilant.

"We don't want to have an Arizona here on Maui. Any of these can get out of control very quickly and put a serious drain on the resources we don't always have," said Murray.

An estimated 95 firefighters spent nine days battling a recent blaze that burned 87 acres in Kaupo.  

Fire investigators said the fire was started by ground bloom flower fireworks.

The estimated cost to fight the fire was $82,000.

So far this year, firefighters on Maui have responded to 221 brush fires, compared to 272 in all of 2012.

"All the money it takes for us to put out these fires are funds that could be used for clearing parks and other things that could be helpful to the community," Arakawa said.

"This is not a way for recreation and fun. This is very serious business. It can take lives, homes and property and it can cause very serious long-term harm to residents here."

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