VIDEO: Kahikinui Fire Update 2/19/16, Multiple Flare-UpsFebruary 19, 2016, 8:46 AM HST · Updated February 19, 8:55 AM Wendy Osher · 0 Comments
Firefighters continue to battle a large brushfire in the remote and rugged terrain of Kahikinui, with firefighting operations now entering a fourth day. The fire has burned a total of 5,300 acres on the southern slopes of Haleakalā since it was first reported on Monday evening, and remained at 40% containment at last report. Fire officials reported multiple flare-ups on Thursday, but no increase in acreage burned.
Crews were taking proactive steps to burn out areas of unburned brush to prevent future flare-ups in potential problem areas.
Officials say rugged terrain poses a challenge in connecting firebreaks, and a getting a stronger handle on containment. “Long distances traversing over rugged lava rock terrain has made it a challenge connecting firebreaks across fire lines,” said Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto.
FSC Taomoto said the number of bulldozers was reduced to three on Thursday, as ground crews continued to establish firebreaks around problem areas.
The nearby Piʻilani Highway will remain open unless flare-ups occur and it becomes necessary to use the highway for helicopter operations.
The American Red Cross had shelter operations open overnight at Keokea Park off of the Kula Highway for anyone displaced or inconvenienced by the fire.