Illegal beach fires are completely unaddressed

With more visitors pouring into our island and local residents desiring to enjoy a TV-show-style beach fire, there are an increasing number of illegal and destructive beach fires taking place in the late evening and early-morning hours.

I have witnessed several wild beach parties taking place, 1-3 a.m., where groups of young individuals set fire to wooden pallets and throw firecrackers in the burning pile while smoking, drinking beer, etc. I did not feel safe to intervene.

I have called the authorities on occasion with mixed results, from being told to go enjoy the beach somewhere else, to having the group return and threaten me with violence for daring to call the cops on them.

I revisited some of the sites to clean up the mess, only to find that the burning pile was buried, and that tourists and beachgoers were lying almost directly over the vandalized spot.

Maui has no shortage of signs informing the public of rules and regulations, but these illegal beach fires are completely unaddressed. Since there is no way to monitor all the beaches at all times, a possible solution is to have designated areas with county-provided fire pits that keep the chemicals and charred ashes from contaminating the beach. We can’t pretend it is not happening, and beach partying will continue.

Beach bonfires are eating away at the number one reason people from all over the world visit our island. Please save our number one resource, our beaches.

Adel Gabriel

Wailuku

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