Suspicious Fire Burns 4 Acres of Sugar Cane in Pāʻia

June 27, 2015, 1:15 AM HST · Updated June 27, 1:16 AM
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Maui Now graphics.

Maui Now graphics.

By Maui Now Staff

A fire that burned four acres of sugar cane in Pāʻia on Friday night, June 26, 2015, was deemed suspicious, according to Maui fire officials.

The incident was the second unscheduled cane fire in as many days reported in the Pāʻia area.  An estimated one acre of sugar cane was burned in a separate incident on Thursday night near the old Lime Kiln site.

The latest fire was reported at 8:42 p.m. on Friday near Hāna Highway and the Pāʻia mini-bypass.

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The initial report indicated that there were two separate brush fires burning in the area, but when firefighters arrived on scene three minutes later, they found a single fire burning in a sugar cane field on the Kahului side of the mini-bypass and mauka of Hāna Highway.

Fire officials say the blaze appeared to be an unscheduled cane fire since the field did not appear to be prepped for harvest.

While waiting for representatives from Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company to arrive, the Pāʻia fire crew and a Kahului water tanker were able to contain about 80% of the fire using large fire streams of water from fire trucks outside the field. “Crews do not send firefighters on foot into cane fires because of unwarranted risks,” said Maui Fire Services Officer Edward Taomoto in a department press release.

When HC&S crews arrived, they confirmed that the incident was an unscheduled fire. About 4 acres had been burned when firefighters left the scene at 9:40 p.m. and handed over responsibility to HC&S.

Maui fire officials say the cause of the fire could not be determined. There were no injuries and no structures threatened, and the incident forced the temporary closure of the Pāʻia mini-bypass.

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