Unscheduled Cane Fire Burns 300 Acres, Flare Up from Friday’s Pūlehu Rd Fire
UPDATE: The Maui Fire Department would like to reassure the public that the unscheduled cane fire currently burning in the Pūlehu-Puʻunēnē area is not an immediate threat to any structures or neighborhoods. At last check, the fire was smoldering in a cane field about 2 to 3 miles to the northeast of Ohukai Road, in North Kīhei.
Today’s unscheduled cane fire is not related to the 3 acre brush fire that Maui fire crews responded to on Pūlehu Road, near the Kula Agricultural Park on Friday afternoon. Today’s cane fire was a flare up of the same unscheduled cane fire that started around 5 p.m. Friday. It occurred a few hours after the brush fire on Pūlehu Road, except that it was located about 2 miles to the west of the Pūlehu Road brush fire.
Maui firefighters did not respond to yesterday’s unscheduled cane fire. Representatives from HC&S has confirmed that yesterday’s cane fire located about a mile to the southwest of the Ōmaʻopio Rd and Pūlehu Rd. junction, was not a scheduled burn. It is unclear what actually started that blaze.
So far, about 300 acres of sugar cane and pockets of brush between cane fields have been scorched.
Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar personnel are on the scene and have completed a firebreak completely around the fires. The large flames and bright orange glow that residents from Upcountry, Kīhei and the Central Valley saw around 7:30 p.m. this evening, was the remaining cane that needed to burn up before reaching the firebreaks created this afternoon.
Another area that was visibly burning after sunset and was making Valley Isle residents nervous, was a patch of unburned brush situated in the middle of cane fields that were already charred earlier in the day. That fire was not a concern and was expected to burn itself out.
Maui firefighters left the scene around 8 p.m. HC&S will be remaining at the fire scene throughout the night to make sure that any smoldering areas doesn’t flare up and jump the containment lines.
Three helicopters and Maui fire crews from Makawao, Kula and Kahului assisted personnel from HC&S, Haleakalā Ranch, and Goodfellow Bros.
Construction in battling the cane fire that burned out of control Saturday afternoon.
UPDATE: It’s estimated around 150 to 200 acres are burning in mostly sugar cane fields, with around a quarter of the fire burning into brush areas. There are now three helicopters working the Pūlehu unscheduled cane fire.
Maui firefighters responded to a possible flare up from yesterday’s brush fire near the Kula Ag Park on Pūlehu Road at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016.
Fire crews from Kula and Makawao have been on scene since around 2:15 p.m. at an unscheduled sugar cane fire. The fire is located about a mile southwest of the Ōmaʻopio Rd. and Pūlehu Rd. junction, and is currently burning in Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. sugar cane fields.
It has moved into pasture land to the south of the cane fields. At the moment, it is at least a mile from the closest structure so the fire is not a threat to any nearby homes.
The fire department’s Air 1 helicopter is on the scene attempting to slow the fire’s spread until additional air support can arrive. On scene are personnel from HC&S, Haleakalā Ranch, and Goodfellow Bros.
Construction. Bulldozers are cutting firebreaks to try to prevent the fire from spreading further.
This afternoon’s fire in the Pūlehu area is believed to be a flare up of the unscheduled sugar cane fire that began late yesterday afternoon. HC&S representatives were notified of the fire and were monitoring its movement last night and into this morning. Yesterday’s cane fire was reported by HC&S to have consumed around 50 acres.
No road closures have been put in effect. More information will be released as the firefighting efforts progress and if the fire becomes a threat to any nearby neighborhoods.