HOME DAMAGE ESTIMATED AT $600,000 IN 80-ACRE MAALAEA BRUSH FIRE

June 22, 2009, 4:45 PM HST · Updated June 23, 2:51 PM
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UPDATED:  4:45 P.M. Monday, June 22, 2009

Courtesy County of Maui

Courtesy County of Maui

Courtesy County of Maui

Courtesy County of Maui

Courtesy County of Maui

Courtesy County of Maui

Courtesy County of Maui

Courtesy County of Maui

Courtesy County of Maui

Courtesy County of Maui

Damages to two homes caused by a brush fire yesterday was estimated at $500,000 total to the two structures and $100,000 in damage to contents including a vehicle, two motorcycles and furnishings. The fire burned approximately 80 acres in Maalaea since it began shortly after 2:00 p.m. yesterday. At 6:30 this morning the fire was declared under control.  A dozen fire fighters were on the scene today dealing with smoldering kiawe wood and wind gusts of up to 40 mph. Fire department personnel will conduct checks of the area throughout the evening. No injuries are reported and the cause of the fire remains under investigation. (Updated at 4:45 p.m. by Wendy Osher, Information and photos provided by County of Maui, Office of the Mayor)

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UPDATE:  10:30 A.M. Monday, June 22, 2009

The Honoapiilani Highway remains open this morning following an 80 acre brush fire that destroyed one home and partially damaged another in Maalaea.  Crews from Hawaiian Telcom are on scene through this afternoon to replace fiber optic cable lines that were damaged in the fire.  Crews from Hawaiian Telcom have heavy equipment and work trucks parked along the mauka shoulder of the road in the pali area.  Traffic is flowing in both directions, but motorists are asked to drive with extra caution because of the limited space on the roadway. The work is expected to continue through this afternoon.

UPDATE:  7:07 A.M. Monday, June 22, 2009

A large brush fire that started yesterday, burned an estimated 80 acres and was 100% contained shortly before 5:30 this morning. The fire started on the mauka side of Maalaea Harbor at around 2:15 Sunday afternoon, and jumped the highway amid high winds clocked at 45 mph.  One home on Maalaea Road was engulfed in flames and destroyed; another was partially burned.  Damage cost estimates are expected later today by fire inspection personnel.  Three families were able to return to their residences overnight after being evacuated.

There were 35 firefighters and 2 helicopters on scene yesterday. Water tankers and heavy equipment support were provided by Goodfellow Brothers and the County’s Department of Public Works. Crews worked through the night to maintain the perimeter and hot spots with a little over a dozen firefighters remaining on the scene this morning.

The Honoapiilani Highway was closed for more than 7 hours yesterday, with travel out of Lahaina through Kahakuloa being permitted in the evening.  The main highway was reopened to alternating traffic at 9:45 p.m. and completely open in both directions by around 11:30 last night.

Hawaiian Telcom crews were on scene yesterday to stabilize fiber optic lines that were in jeopardy of being impacted by fallen and burnt trees. The affected lines provide service to West Maui.

Yesterday afternoon, an employee of First Wind Co.’s Kaheawa Wind Farm, located above the fire incident, was unable to leave the worksite as the fire cut off access to an exit road. Fire department personnel safely transported that individual to safety.  No injuries are reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

(Updated at 7:07 a.m. Monday, June 22, 2009 by Wendy Osher © 2009)

UPDATE:  5:30 A.M. Monday, June 22, 2009

An 80 acre brush fire in Maalaea was 100% contained before daybreak today.  There were still a dozen fire personnel on scene this morning monitoring the fire, which was isolated to the mauka side of the roadway, and not impacting traffic this morning.  Maui County Public Information Officer Mahina Martin tells us, residents from three Maalaea homes were able to return in the night to their residences. One home was engulfed by the fire and another sustained partial damage, but estimates on monetary loss is not yet available.  The fire started on the mauka side of Maalaea Harbor at around 2:15 Sunday afternoon, and jumped the highway amid high winds.  The main road linking West Maui to the rest of the island was completely closed for more than 7 hours.  Shortly before 10 p.m., motorists were allowed to pass using an alternating lane of traffic; and by 11:30, both lanes of travel were open.  Some motorists wanting to get from Lahaina to Wailuku braved the rural and narrow back road through Kahakuloa last night, but only residential traffic was being allowed in the opposite direction.  This morning, Maui Police say traffic is not impacted and the fire remains mauka of the Highway with a dozen personnel on scene.  Again, the fire burned a total of 80 acres and was 100% contained by 5:30 this morning.

11:28 P.M. UPDATE, SUNDAY, JUNE 21, 2009

The Honoapiilani Highway is now open in both directions.  The road was open for alternating traffic at 9:52 p.m.  And at around 11:30 p.m., both lanes became operational for travel.  The road was closed since 2:30 this afternoon as the result of an 80 acre blaze that also engulfed one home in the Maalaea area.  Again, the Honoapiilani Highway now has traffic flowing in both directions as of around 11:30 Sunday evening.  (Updated at 11:28 p.m. Sunday, June 21, 2009 by Wendy Osher © 2009)

9:52 P.M. UPDATE

The Honoapiilani Highway is now open for alternating traffic.  Motorists can still expect a significant delay in travel.  Again, the Honoapiilani Highway is now open for alternating traffic-one lane of the highway is still being used for firefighting equipment.  The brush fire burned 80 acres and engulfed one home since it was first reported at 2:15 p.m.  Authorities say the fire is still active.

9:00 P.M. UPDATE

The Honoapiilani Highway remains closed at this hour because of a brush fire that has burned 80 acres and engulfed one home. The fire is not contained at this time and remains active.  The Honoapiilani Highway has been closed since 2:30 this afternoon between Maalaea and Ukumehame.  Earlier projects of a possible opening have been hampered by high winds and there is no new estimated time for when the road will be reopened.   Motorists are cautioned to expect significant delays, even once the highway is reopened.  According to Maui Police, motorists traveling out of West Maui can travel through Kahakuloa at this time, however the road is rural, narrow, and not easy to traverse, especially at night. Access from the Wailuku side of Kahakuloa remains restricted to residents of Kahakuloa only. We will update you with more information as it develops.  (Updated at 9:00 p.m. Sunday, June 21, 2009 by Wendy Osher © 2009)

8:03 P.M. UPDATE

The Honoapiilani Highway remains closed at this hour because of an active brush fire that has burned 80 acres and engulfed one home. According to Maui Police, motorists traveling out of West Maui can travel through Kahakuloa at this time, however the road is rural, narrow, and not easy to traverse, especially at night. Access from the Wailuku side of Kahakuloa remains restricted to residents of Kahakuloa. The fire is not contained at this time and remains active.  The Honoapiilani Highway has been closed since 2:30 this afternoon.  The earliest possible estimate for reopening is at around 9 p.m. or later, but that is a loose estimate and subject to changing conditions including high wind, fallen debris, roadway clearing, and heavy equipment access. Motorists are cautioned to expect significant delays, even once the highway is reopened.  We will update you with more information as it develops.  (Updated at 8:05 p.m. Sunday, June 21, 2009 by Wendy Osher © 2009)

6:45 P.M. UPDATE

Authorities project having the Honoapiilani Highway reopened at around 9 p.m. at the earliest, but that’s a loose estimate and depends on a variety of factors including strong winds.  The Honoapiilani Highway has been closed between Maalaea and Ukumehame since 2:30 this afternoon because of an active brush fire that jumped both sides of the highway.  An estimated 80 acres has burned and at least one home was engulfed by the blaze.  The rural, alternate, back road through Kahakuloa is closed to through traffic, and only open to residents of the area.  Again, the Honoapiilani Highway -that’s the main road that links West Maui to the rest of the island -remains closed.  The earliest possible reopening would be around 9 p.m., but that is a loose estimate.  We will update you with more information as it becomes available.   (Updated at 6:45 p.m. Sunday, June 21, 2009 by Wendy Osher © 2009)

5:30 P.M. UPDATE

The Honoapiilani Highway remains closed at this hour due to a brush fire.  At 5:30 p.m., authorities said there was no estimated time for when the road would be reopened and had indicated that winds were hampering firefighting efforts.  Since it began at around 2:15 this afternoon, the fire has engulfed one home and burned an estimated 80 acres.  It was still active at last report.  Homes on the Lahaina side of Buzz’s Wharf were evacuated at around 3 o’clock this afternoon.  The Honoapiilani Highway is closed between North Kihei junction and MP11 near Ukumehame.  The rural back road through Kahakuloa is closed to through traffic, and only open to residents who live in the area.  The fire started on the Mauka side near Maalaea Harbor and jumped the road to the makai or ocean side due to windy conditions.  Again, the Honoapiilani Hwy over the pali is closed from Maalaea to Ukumehame. At least 3 fire engines and an Air one helicopter are on scene.  (Updated at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, June 21, 2009 by Wendy Osher © 2009)

2:45 P.M. UPDATE

Motorists traveling to or from Lahaina at this hour are advised of a road closure on the Pali due to a brush fire reported at around 2:15 this afternoon.  The Honoapiilani Hwy is closed between North Kihei junction and at approximately MP11 near Ukumehame.  The fire started on the Mauka side near Maalaea Harbor and has since jumped the road to the makai or ocean side due to windy conditions.  County officials say one home is affected.  The Honoapiilani Hwy over the pali is closed from Maalaea to Olowalu. 3 fire engines and Air one are on scene.  By 3:15 this afternoon, evacuations had begun for several residents of the area.   (Updated at 2:45 p.m. Sunday, June 21, 2009: by Wendy Osher © 2009)

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