Smoke from flareup of Olowalu Fire results in delays

May 6, 2010, 2:00 PM HST · Updated May 6, 4:53 PM
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(Update:  4:30 p.m. Thursday, May 06, 2010)

The West Maui fire that started on Monday afternoon is now 80% contained.  Increasing winds caused sporadic minor flare-ups today, resulting in a delay in travel for motorists traveling on the Honoapiilani Highway. Fifty firefighters, including 15 from the State’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife, were on scene today assisted by the department’s Air One helicopter.  Tonight, firefighters will continue to monitor the burn area for flare-ups and continue mop-up operations. The public can expect to see hot spots within the burned area for days to come. The burn area remains closed to public access.

(Update 2:30 p.m. Thursday, May 06, 2010 by Wendy Osher)

After more than 72 hours of fighting the Olowalu Fire, crews continue mop-up operations today with 70% of the fire under containment.  There was a flare up reported near Mile Marker 14 in Olowalu at around 1 o’clock this (Thursday, May 06, 2010) afternoon, resulting in traffic delays for motorists going into and out of Lahaina.

Overnight, firefighters were on patrol monitoring the burn area for flare-ups.  County officials say increased winds overnight had no notable impact on the fire.  Yesterday, firefighters dealt with critical fire weather that included gusty trades, low relative humidity and warm temperatures.

The same conditions persist today and are expected to remain through Friday morning. The public is reminded that the fire area is closed to access for safety reasons due to smoldering materials, falling trees and underground burning roots.

Today, more than 20 firefighters, including state Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) wildland firefighters, are on scene. Predicted increases in wind conditions remain a concern today.

(Update 1:10 p.m. Thursday, May 06, 2010)

Motorists traveling on the Honoapiilani Highway at this hour are advised of a backup in traffic.  The road remains open, however there is heavy smoke near mile post 14 due to a recent flare up of the ongoing brush fire in Olowalu.  Motorists are advised to drive with caution.  We will keep you posted with any updates.

Heavy traffic reported on the Honoapiilani Highway. There is heavy smoke from a recent flare up of an ongoing brushfire near MP14. Road remains OPEN. Drive with caution.

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