UPDATE: Kahikinui Brush Fire Flares Up, Chars 90 Acres
Update: Oct. 17, 2016, 5:25 p.m.
The Piʻilani Highway is now OPEN in the area of Kahikinui. It was closed for about four hours between Mile 20-27.5 due to a brush fire flare up from a fire that was first reported on Sunday.
Update: Oct. 17, 2016, 1:10 p.m.
The Piʻilani Highway is temporarily closed in the area of Kahikinui from Mile 20-27.5 due to a brush fire flare up.
At 11:11 a.m. Monday, October 17, 2016, firefighters responded to a flare up at the Kahikinui brush fire that burned 50 acres on Sunday. At 1:15 p.m. Monday, the size of the flare up was estimated at around 40 additional acres, making the total so far scorched at 90 acres.
When Kula firefighters arrived at 11:46 a.m., around 20 acres of grass and brush was estimated on fire on the makai side of Piʻilani Highway near milepost 27.
Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said that at the moment, no structures are being threatened and no evacuations of Kahikinui Homesteads are anticipated.
Piʻilani Highway is closed at milepost 20 near the Auwahi Windmills on the west side of the fire, and at milepost 27.5 near Manawainui Gulch on the east side.
Two helicopters are making water drops to prevent the fire from jumping the highway and spreading mauka. A battalion chief, along with engine companies and water tankers from Kula, Makawao, Kahului, and Wailea are battling the fire that is currently still contained to the makai side of Piʻilani Highway. Two bulldozers are on the way to help with cutting firebreaks.
The wind conditions are about 25 mph, however, the vegetation is still green so the fire is not moving as quickly.
The cause of the brush fire that began on Sunday afternoon remains under investigation.
Maui firefighters responded to a brush fire in Kahikinui, near Manawainui Bridge on Piʻilani Highway at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016.
Emergency dispatchers received multiple calls from motorists who saw the fire spreading rapidly while they drove the back way out from Hāna.
At 4:06 p.m. Kula firefighters arrived and found a large area of brush burning on the makai side of Piʻilani Highway, between mileposts 27 and 28. This is the same area that burned about 6,000 acres in February of this year.
Fire crews had the fire 100% contained by around 6:30 p.m. Some hot spots are still smoldering within the blackened areas but it is not expected to pose a problem. Crews will make checks during the night and will be in mopping up again in the morning.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. No structures were threatened and no injuries were reported.
Piilani highway was closed for about 2 hours while fire crews battled the blaze that at times threatened to jump over to the mauka side of the highway. Crews managed to contain the fire to the makai side.
A battalion chief, 3 engine companies, and 2 water tankers from Kula, Makawao, Kahului and Wailea responded to the incident. Two helicopters also provided air support with water drops from the air.
(Update: 6:15 p.m. 10.16.16)
Piʻilani Highway is now OPEN in both directions. The road was closed earlier due to a brush fire in Kahikinui.
(Update: 4:30 p.m. 10.16.16)
Piʻilani Highway is closed from Mile 27.5 to 34 in Kahikinui due to a brush fire.
Motorist can expect delays and are advised to use an alternate route until further notice.
*Check back for updates, which will be posted as they become available.