11 Jun 2010, 12:12am
Latest Fire News
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Maalaea Fire being tamed

5,800 acres of brush burned, but fire 75% contained

By CHRIS HAMILTON, Maui News, June 10, 2023 [here]

MAALAEA - Maui firefighters appeared to have gained the upper hand Wednesday in battling a wild-land blaze that had consumed an estimated 5,800 acres of brush in the West Maui Mountains above Maalaea.

“I drove the perimeter today, and it looks really good,” said Deputy Fire Chief Robert Shimada around 7 p.m. Wednesday. “I don’t want to curse myself, but I feel a whole lot better tonight than I did yesterday.”

Gusting winds continued hampering firefighting efforts. …

On Wednesday night, the fire was officially 75 percent contained, county spokeswoman Mahina Martin said.

An earlier report by the county estimated that the fire had burned 2,300 acres, but Martin said officials discovered the true magnitude of the damage once much of the smoke had cleared out later in the day. …

Witnesses reported seeing trees explode into flames and the fire jump 10 yards at a time. Several hot spots remained, mostly mauka of Honoapiilani Highway, south of Waikapu and the Kahili Golf Course.

Early on Wednesday afternoon, Martin said there were “no major flare-ups yet.”

Also on Wednesday, the National Weather Service continued wind advisories for Maui, with gusts of up to 50 mph predicted for Haleakala’s summit. The easterly winds were so strong that the National Weather Service advised homeowners to bring inside “any loose objects that may become airborne.” High winds are expected until tonight.

Incredibly, officials said, no homes or structures were damaged by the massive blaze, first reported at 10 p.m. Monday in Waikapu. …

Forty firefighters from the Lahaina, Wailuku and Kahului fire stations fought the fire on Wednesday. For a second day, they were joined by 20 state Department of Land and Natural Resources Forestry and Wildlife Division firefighters, said Deborah Ward, department spokeswoman.

Five helicopters from Windward Aviation and Pacific Helicopter conducted water drops Wednesday. The fire was considered under control enough that the Hawaii National Guard sent back to the Big Island two Black Hawks on loan Tuesday.

Fire crews were assisted by three water tankers and then two bulldozers to cut fire- breaks. About 25 firefighters were expected to continue battling the blaze overnight. Helicopters must stop their water drops at nightfall for safety concerns. The area is thick with power lines. …

The county’s website, www.mauicounty.gov, also has regular updates on the brush fire. … [more]



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