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Smoke From Cane Fire Forces Intermittent Closures on Kuihelani

Posted June 11, 2013, 06:17 PM HST Updated June 12, 2013, 06:11 AM HST
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Kuihelani cane fire, 6/11/13. Photo courtesy, Susan Figg.

Kuihelani cane fire, 6/11/13. Photo courtesy, Susan Figg.

By Wendy Osher

A portion of the Kuihelani Highway on Maui was partially closed on two separate occasions on Tuesday, as smoke from a scheduled cane fire hampered vision along the roadway.

The first closure was reported at 5:45 am. on Tuesday, June 11, along the Kuihelani Highway between the Honoapiʻilani Highway and Waiko Road.

At one point during the closure, police began diverting southbound traffic onto Waiko Road before completely opening the highway at 8:09 a.m.

The same stretch of highway was closed again at 1:25 p.m. due to poor visibility from heavy smoke in the same area, with a detour set up at Waiko Road for approaching south-bound traffic.

Police issued an updated advisory at 3:42 p.m. saying that all roads in Maui County were open.

According to a notification issued by Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company, there was a scheduled cane burn in the area that was planned between 4 and 6 a.m. along the Honoapiʻilani Highway in Waikapu.

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A separate notification was issued just before 11 a.m., indicating that cane burning is scheduled for the same time tomorrow, Wednesday, June 12, in the same area.

The company began their 141st harvest season in mid-March.

According to the material published by HC&S, company officials say schedules can change based on updated weather forecasts and operating conditions at the processing plant.

The public can access updated cane burning schedules via text, email, or online at HCSugar.com.

***Additional Information: Maui police have since confirmed that there were two accidents on Tuesday morning in the area of the road closure. Police say there were no life-threatening injuries. Authorities could not confirm the cause of accidents.

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