Major Maui Brush Fire Put At $400K, Suspect Arrested

Jul 18, 2019

WAILUKU — A fire that burned about 9,000 acres on Maui, diverted flights and forced evacuations last week cost roughly $400,000, officials and one landowner estimated.

The Maui News reported Wednesday that 28-year-old Holden Bingham was arrested Monday on suspicion of first-degree arson and unauthorized control of a propelled motor vehicle in connection with the fire.

Police say Bingham was released on those charges pending further investigation but is being held on unrelated arrest warrants.

The newspaper also reported Wednesday that officials say the fire, earlier announced to be completely contained, burned 14 square miles.

Officials say the fire which burned across Central Maui and North Kihei beginning Thursday morning damaged land mostly owned by farming company Mahi Pono.

Officials say a smaller, second fire in the Kahului area beginning Friday burned less than a square mile. That blaze is considered a separate fire, but forced evacuations from Puunene businesses and one school.

On Wednesday, Maui Mayor Michael Victorino told HPR that county officials learned several lessons from the dangerous, fast-moving fire, including the need to protect roadways and create green areas.