Maui News

Day Four: Mā‘alaea Fire 80% Contained

July 5, 2016, 5:17 PM HST
* Updated July 5, 7:45 PM
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Māʻalaea fire. Sunday photos July 3, 2016. Photos courtesy: County of Maui, Ryan Piros.

Māʻalaea fire. Sunday, July 3, 2016. Photos courtesy: County of Maui, Ryan Piros.

On day four, July 5, 2016, of the Mā‘alaea brush fire, fire crews have made some progress and are calling the 4,700 acre fire about 80% contained.

Today, about a dozen firefighters were dousing hot spots still smoldering near control lines on the east side of the fire, as well as in the Ukumehame area on the western flank of the fire.

There were a few flare ups throughout the day, but they were relatively minor compared to those in the initial days of the blaze.

The fire department’s helicopter was called out to a flare up about a quarter mile up the mountain on the Ukumehame side. The flare up occurred in an area that had no chance of spreading. When Air 1 arrived, the fire had already burned itself out.

There are a lot of smoking logs that are far enough into the burn area that they do not pose a threat.

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The fire area covers roughly 4,700 acres, so with that large of an area to extinguish, the Maui Fire Department is focusing its efforts on keeping an approximate 50-foot cold zone around the perimeter of the fire.

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Motorists driving on the Honoapi‘ilani Highway have been reporting many hot spots that can be seen smoking, glowing or sometimes flaming, but most have been well into the blackened areas.

Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto stated that the department wants the public to know that if they see isolated logs smoking more than 100 feet in from the edge of unburned areas, that “we are letting those hot spots burn themselves out. Our primary concern is making sure there are no

smoldering material within 50 feet from unburned vegetation.”

Despite reports that traffic flow is moving slowly from Ma‘alaea to Ukumehame, the Honoapi‘ilani Highway remains open in both directions.

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Motorist should be vigilant while driving though the area, as firefighters and fire trucks may be working on or near the roadway.

Fire crews will to continue to patrol the area for hot spots throughout the night.

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