Maui News

UPDATE: Brush Fire Burns 350 Acres Above Kāʻanapali

August 16, 2015, 4:00 PM HST
* Updated August 17, 4:07 PM
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MFD 08.15.15 Kaanapali brushfire

Photo credit: Mike Mullaley

MFD 08.16.15 Kpali brushfire gulch

Photo sent 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015. Courtesy photo.

By Maui Now Staff

(Update: 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 17, 2015)

Firefighters continued fire patrols at the brush fire in Kāʻanapali today, but have not called it extinguished yet according to Maui Fire Services Officer Edward Taomoto.

“They saw several areas of large timber that were still producing smoke,” said FSO Taomoto, but said based on weather conditions and forecasts, it “is not expected to pose a problem.”

The fire was still is 100% contained at last report.


Taomoto said fire crews will continue to make periodic patrols of the area and will wait until no smoke is seen for an extended time period before declaring it extinguished.


(UPDATE: Sunday, Aug. 16, 4 p.m.)

The brushfire that started on Friday afternoon above the Kāʻanapali Resort area was deemed under control today, with 100% containment and no active fire.

It has not yet been called extinguished; there are still smoldering areas far enough within the “black” that it is of low concern.


It’s typical to let those areas cool and snuff themselves out. Also, by giving it time, problem areas will show themselves by emitting puffs of smoke.

Crews are making periodic fire patrols throughout the day and will call it extinguished after enough time has passed without seeing any “smokies” in the fire area.

The final estimate is that 350 acres were scorched.

The cause of the fire could not be determined; no damages or injuries were reported.

UPDATE: Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, 8 p.m.

Firefighters working the brushfire burning since Friday afternoon in Kāʻanapali finally gained the upper-hand.

There are presently no active fires burning within the 350 acres already scorched, but there are still smoldering areas of large tree trunks and buried vegetation within the blackened areas.

They have decided to demobilize some of the crews and send them back to their home stations to cover their districts and get some rest.

However, commanders will be keeping at least one fire engine overnight to monitor the area for any flare-ups.

Fifty percent of the fire area has containment lines that are expected to prevent the fire from jumping over, under the current and forecasted weather conditions.

Commanders kept tabs overnight and will reassess the area Sunday morning.

UPDATE: Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, 4:30 p.m.

The fire in the hills above Kāʻanapali has burned about 350 acres so far and is 30% contained. Fire crews will remain throughout the night.

UPDATE: Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, noon

The brushfire above the Kāʻanapali Resort area in West Maui continues to burn. So far, it has consumed about 300 acres and has not yet been contained as of noon, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015.

Firefighters battling the brushfire are having a difficult time gaining the upper hand in controlling the fires spread. Overnight, flames jumped firebreaks cut along the mauka edge of the fire and gradually spread upslope into heavier vegetation, reaching to about the 1,500 foot elevation.

Currently, flames on the mauka edge of the fire can only be fought using helicopter water drops and bulldozers cutting new firebreaks.

Six fire trucks are concentrating their efforts on the northern, southern and makai edges where vehicles are able to make access.

There are three helicopters and two Maui County Public Works dozers working to contain the mauka flank.

Last night fire came as close as a quarter-mile from homes in the Kāʻanapali Estates area, but at last check structures are not in immediate danger.

Fire crews are monitoring weather conditions as the afternoon sun heats up the landscape, and are keeping close watch for flare-ups in the areas nearest to homes. No injuries have been reported so far.

County firefighters from Napili, Lahaina, and Kahului, along with personnel from County Public Works are at the scene. Air 1, Air, 2, and Air 3 are providing air support. Wildland firefighters from the State, Division of Forestry and Wildlife are also assisting County fire crews.


A brush fire reported on Friday afternoon, Aug. 14, 2015, burned an estimated 120 acres, and remained active into the evening.  The fire was first reported at 2:49 p.m. in the hills above Kāʻanapali, in West Maui.

Maui Fire Services Officer Edward Taomoto said callers initially reported the brush fire above the Lahainaluna Road area, but firefighters eventually traced the smoke to the hills above the Kāʻanapali Resort area.

Kāʻanapali fire, 8/14/15. Photo credit: Jennifer Jenkins Deatrick.

Kāʻanapali fire, 8/14/15. Photo credit: Jennifer Jenkins Deatrick.

Lahaina fire crews arrived on scene at 3:15 p.m. and reported having trouble finding access routes to the fire, which was estimated to be around 5 acres at the time.  Fire officials say the burn area included gulches and difficult terrain.

At 7:30 p.m., the fire was estimated to have consumed about 100 acres and was about 75% contained, said FSO Taomoto.

At 8:30 p.m., the fire had spread further and had charred an estimated 120 acres.

“There is still active fire burning within the firebreaks being cut by bulldozers around the fire,” said FSO Taomoto.

Photo Credit: Paul Karanik (Aug 14th, 3:57 p.m.)

Photo Credit: Paul Karanik (Aug 14th, 3:57 p.m.)

He said crews are still on scene working to contain the blaze and will remain throughout the night.

At last report, no homes were threatened and no injuries were reported.  The closest home was reported to be about a mile away.

Fire officials say it is still unclear what started the fire.

Five fire units and from Lahaina, Nāpili, Wailuku, and Kahului, and a battalion chief, along with Air 1, Air 2, two dozers and two water tankers from County Public Works responded to the fire.

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