Caution urged with New Year’s fireworks

The Maui News – Maui Electric Co. is reminding people to use fireworks safely during the New Year’s celebrations.

Company officials recommend residents carefully set up and use fireworks in an area clear of overhead power lines. Fireworks should not be strung on utility poles, and people should ensure there’s at least a 10-foot clearance from power lines when using ladders or other tools to string fireworks.

If an object gets tangled in an overhead power line, people are warned not to try to free it. Instead, they should call MECO’s trouble line at 871-7777 on Maui. On Lanai or Molokai, residents may call (877) 871-8461.

As a reminder, fireworks can legally be set off from 9 a.m. Sunday to 1 a.m. Monday.

Violators could face fines of up to $2,000. The import, transfer, sale or use of aerial fireworks without a permit is a Class C felony.

A permit is needed for firecrackers. Each permit costs $25 and is good for the purchase of up to 5,000 pieces. A permit is not required for consumer fireworks, such as sparklers, snakes, cylindrical or cone fountains that emit effects no higher than 12 feet.

Firecracker permits are available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through today at some county locations. Permit fees are payable by check or money order to the County of Maui. Cash will be accepted at the Fire Prevention Bureau and Pine Isle Market only.

Permits are available at:

• Fire Prevention Bureau, Consolidated Baseyard, 313 Manea Place, Waikapu.

• County Department of Parks and Recreation Permit Office, Lahaina Civic Center, 1840 Honoapiilani Highway, Lahaina.

• County Parks and Recreation Permit Office, Mitchell Pauole Community Center, 90 Ainoa St., Kaunakakai.

A limited number of permits may be available at the following retail locations: Phantom Fireworks, front parking lot of Queen Ka’ahumanu Center in Kahului; Pacific Starr Fireworks and TNT Fireworks Golden Dragon, at the Piilani Shopping Village in Kihei; and Pine Isle Market in Lanai City.