VIDEO: Additional 400 acres burned in Maalaea Fire flare up

June 10, 2010, 2:51 PM HST · Updated June 10, 6:17 PM
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By Wendy Osher

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oghLmyA0Eko[/youtube]

(Update: 6 p.m. 6/10/10)

A flare-up at approximately 1:30 p.m. today added an estimated 400 acres to a brush fire that’s been burning since Monday evening. Fire officials report that the brush fire remains at 90% containment. The flare-up was brought under control by firefighters aided by 4 helicopters conducting water drops. The brush fire has now burned an estimated 6,200 acres.

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25 Maui County and State Department of Forestry and Wildlife firefighters were transported by helicopter to the mauka ridge line where the flare up occurred. The personnel cleared brush and trees along the ridge line to help prevent additional flare-ups.

The high winds and terrain filled with steep slopes and brush were contributing factors to the flare-up.  No injuries are reported and Honoapiilani Highway remained open.

At nightfall helicopter operations will cease for safety reasons. Fire crews will remain on scene throughout the night to monitor hot spots. Fire officials will assess the situation at daylight.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

(Information courtesy: County of Maui)

(Update: 2:30 p.m. 6/10/10)

Maui firefighters continue to battle a blaze above Maalaea has already burned 5,800 acres.  At around 1:30 this afternoon (Thursday, June 10, 2010), a significant flare up was reported on the Waikapu side of the fire perimeter.

The area features steep slopes and heavy brush.  The flare-up is noticeable from miles away, and is located approximately a quarter-mile above the Kamehameha Golf Course club house.

The flare-up is moving mauka of the golf course and does not pose an immediate threat to any structures at this time. Two helicopters are on scene with additional air support being deployed.

Honoapiilani Highway is not affected at this time. Slow moving traffic in the immediate area of Waikapu may be impacted by drivers viewing the noticeable smoke. .  In addition to Maui Firefighter personnel, crews from the state’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife continue to work in the uppermost mauka part of the perimeter of the burn area.

Because of the ongoing operations, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources today decided to close the Lahaina Pali Trail in the West Maui Mountains until further notice.

Trail closure signs will be posted at each end of the trail, at the trailheads.   Conditions on the trail and in the surrounding areas may be extremely dangerous to hikers.  DLNR advises all persons to avoid the area. Once the fire has been contained and extinguished, Na Ala Hele will assess the situation and decide upon its further course of action.

Maui’s Civil Defense agency, in coordination with the Maui Fire and Police Departments, as well as GIS and state officials, successfully secured federal funding through a Federal Emergency Management Grant that will help to cover costs incurred at the state and county level.

The Honoapiilani Highway remains open at this hour.  If conditions change, updates are available by calling the county hotline at 986-1200.

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