Kahikinui Brush Fire Flare Up Burns Toward Dense Forest
Maui fire crews returned to the scene of a stubborn brush fire in Kahikinui after homesteaders reported a flare-up on Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 24, 2016.
Crews arrived to find 3 to 4 acres burning near the mauka perimeter, about 1.5 miles from the nearest structure, according to Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto.
The department’s Air 1 helicopter was dispatched, and two helicopters from Pacific Helicopter Tours were contracted to assist with water drops until nightfall.
When darkness fell, officials say the fire was still active, and was creeping slowly upslope. According to department reports, the fire grew to 7 to 10 acres and was moving into denser forested areas overnight.
A crew of five firefighters stood watch overnight to keep tabs on where the fire was headed, said FSC Taomoto.
State Division of Forestry and Wildlife personnel and helicopters were scheduled to return at first light today to resume firefighting operations.
The Piʻilani Highway will be open to all traffic but motorists are advised that the road may close momentarily at any time for helicopter operations on or near the highway in the remote Kahikinui area.
The fire has burned a total of 5,300 acres on the southern slopes of Haleakalā since it was first reported on Monday evening, Feb. 15, 2016.