Brush Fire Chars 5 Acres in East Maui

February 7, 2017, 11:55 AM HST · Updated February 8, 5:18 AM
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Maui firefighters battled a five acre brush fire along the Hāna Highway in East Maui on Monday.

The fire forced the three hour closure of the roadway in both directions near Honomanū at Mile 11 while crews worked to fight the fire and burnt debris fell onto the roadway posing a safety hazard.

The fire was called in by passing motorists at 5:09 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017.

Engine 2 from Pāʻia and Tanker 10 from Kahului responded and arrived at 5:45 p.m. to find about a quarter acre of thick vegetation and large eucalyptus trees burning on the hillside mauka of Hāna Highway, about a mile Kahului side of Honomanū Bay.

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Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said crews could not make access to the fire because of steep terrain, with flames climbing up a near vertical slope, burning 150 to 200 feet above the highway.

Light showers last night helped to contain the fire, but it was still smoldering when crews left the scene at 9 p.m. Air 1 could not be used late Monday afternoon due to marginal weather and dwindling daylight.

The department’s Air 1 helicopter and Engine 2 from Pāʻia went back out to the scene Tuesday morning to extinguish the still smoldering fire.

Estimates were about five acres had burned on the mountainside.

FSC Taomoto said helicopter water drops were the only means to extinguish the fire since the steep slope was too dangerous for firefighters to navigate on foot.  The fire was extinguished at 10:37 a.m. on Tuesday. The cause of the brush fire was undetermined.

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