Maui News

Olowalu Brush Fire Continues to Steam From Deep Underground

July 13, 2016, 12:18 AM HST
* Updated July 13, 7:53 AM
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Maui Fire Department photo of Olowalu fire, July 9, 2016.

Maui Fire Department photo of Olowalu fire, July 9, 2016.

The Olowalu brush fire that started on Friday July 8, 2016, remained 80% contained on Tuesday afternoon, according to fire officials.

Five firefighters from Lahaina spent the day Tuesday dousing problem hot spots on the perimeter and along the lower sections of Ukumehame Stream near the Honoapiʻilani Highway. Fire officials say those areas have been difficult to fully extinguish due to the abundance of large tree growth.

“Adding to the problem, is the fact that some areas are not dissipating the heat as readily, and are staying hot for a long time,” said Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto.  “Crews are dumping huge amounts of water on these areas and they still continue to steam from deep underground,” he said.

According to Tamoto, some of those areas also hold buried organic matter believed to be leftover from the sugar plantation days.

Firefighters did get some help from mother nature on Monday night. “Although only light rain fell across most of the area, crews are happy anytime they can get a little help from the weather,” said Maui FSC Taomoto.

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No helicopters were used and no significant flare ups occurred on Tuesday.

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Crews will continue to make periodic fire patrols of the area.

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