FEMA Federal funds secured for 2300-acre Maui Fire

June 9, 2010, 12:03 PM HST · Updated June 9, 12:03 PM
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Maui County fire fighters battling a fast moving brush fire that had scorched 2,300 acres in the West Maui Mountains will receive federal aid.  The announcement was made this morning by U.S. Senators Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel K. Akaka.

The Fire Management Assistance Grant will be funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  The grant was requested by the state on Tuesday and approved this morning.

“I am closely monitoring the Maui fire and my thoughts and prayers are with the residents and the fire fighters battling this blaze,” said Sen. Inouye. “I am pleased that our Federal Emergency Management Agency has quickly responded to the critical needs of Maui residents.”

“I commend Maui’s fire fighters and emergency officials for their coordinated effort to contain the fire above Maalaea and protect neighboring communities,” said Sen. Akaka. “I am pleased that FEMA will be providing funding through its Fire Management Assistance Grant program to help Maui sustain an effective response.”

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About 100 people were evacuated Tuesday including residents, shoreline campers, people parked at a scenic lookout and employees at the Kaheawa Wind Farm.

The American Red Cross served 10 people at a shelter set up at War Memorial Gym in Wailuku and one person at the Lahaina Civic Center in West Maui.  The fire also forced the closure of a stretch of Honoapiilani Highway for about six hours before opening for alternating traffic at around 6 p.m. Tuesday.  The road is open in both directions today, but is subject to intermittent closures if necessary.

The fire was first reported at around 10 p.m. Monday on the mauka side of the highway near Waikapu. By Tuesday morning it was burning toward Ukumehame and as of today it remained uncontained.

The FEMA grant is expected to help offset costs incurred by the county and state.

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