UPDATE: Molokai Fire Burns 20 Acres / 911 Service Restored
By Wendy Osher
(Update: 3:41 p.m. 8/23/11)
Maui firefighters remain on the scene of two brush fires on Molokai.
The first, smaller blaze was reported at 1:34 p.m. near Mile Marker 3 of the Maunaloa Highway. The fire burned 5,000 square feet and was located in an area near the Monsanto operations.
A second fire was reported about a quarter mile past the first one in the direction of the airport. Maui Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga said the fire burned an estimated 15-20 acres and was called contained by the Department’s incident commander at 3:30 p.m.
Officials with the County of Maui say both fires were considered contained at around that time.
Crews remain on scene, where they continue mop-up operations.
Responding to the scene were Engine 4 and Tanker 4 from Kaunakai, Engine 9 from Hoolehua, Engine 12 from Pukoo, and Air 1. Also assisting was the Public Works Department with two tankers and a bulldozer, as well as the state Highway’s Division and the Tri Isle construction company that responded with a tanker each.
For a brief period earlier this afternoon, 911 phone service on Molokai was interrupted because of fire damage to Hawaiian Tel equipment. Phone lines were rerouted, and service was restored at around 3 p.m., according to Maui Police Department Lt. Wayne Ibarra.
(Update: 3:20 p.m. 8/23/11)
County authorities have since confirmed that the 911 phone outage that occurred on Molokai earlier this afternoon was caused by fire damage to Hawaiian Tel equipment.
The County Public Information office reports that there may have been more than one brushfire burning at the same time today. Details are forthcoming.
As a precaution the County closed down its landfill on Molokai because of the close proximity of one of the brush fires to operations at the site.
(Update: 3:03 p.m. 8/23/11)
911 phone service has since been restored to the island of Molokai. Authorities with the Maui Police Department say phone lines were rerouted and emergency phone service was restored at around 3 p.m. It is unclear if the island of Lanai is affected. Authorities are investigating the cause of the outage and have yet to confirm if a large brush fire on Molokai was a factor.
(Posted: 2:17 p.m. 8/23/11)
The 911 phone service on Molokai is temporarily down. Authorities say there is a brush fire on the island, but have not confirmed if the fire caused the down service. In the interim, individuals on Molokai who need to contact police or emergency personnel, should call the Molokai Police Department directly at (808) 553-5355.
Regular phone lines are not impacted by the incident.
*** We will post more information as it becomes available.