Maui News

Fire Below Old Pāʻia Mill Now 98% Contained

June 12, 2017, 9:54 AM HST
* Updated June 12, 11:18 AM
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Maui fire crews remain on the scene of a brush fire first reported at around 9 p.m. on Sunday, June 11, 2017 in an area below the Old Pāʻia Mill.

Pāʻia fire. PC: 6.11.17 by Queenie Lei

Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said the fire was about 98% contained by 7 a.m. today, Monday, June 12, 2017, and had blackened a total of six acres.

Residents reported a strong odor of smoke in both the Kahului and Kīhei areas on Sunday night.

The incident was first reported at 9:02 p.m. on Sunday near the Old Pāʻia Sugar Mill on Baldwin Avenue.

Nineteen firefighters battled the fire through the night with Pāʻia firefighters first arriving on scene at 9:09 p.m.

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Upon arrival, crews found a working brush fire, but could not get a good estimate on the size because of hilly terrain obstructing their views. The orange glow of the flames could be seen about 100 yards into a field on the Kahului side of Baldwin Avenue, just makai of the Old Pāʻia Sugar Mill. Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said light winds were pushing the fire away from area homes so no structures were in immediate danger.

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According to FSC Taomoto, fire crews had a difficult time finding a route to the fire because of barricades blocking roads and overgrown brush preventing large fire trucks from traveling on the old cane roads. He said firefighters eventually made access to the fire and were able to contain it to a six acre area of brush and 50 foot high rows of sugar cane bagasse leftover from the sugar plantation era.

The fire burned right up to Baldwin Avenue and Puakou Place but did not damage any structures.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, although fire officials say a campsite was found near the center of the burned out field while firefighters were mopping up. It’s unknown whether the campsite played any part in the starting of the fire.

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Sunday night, Kīhei firefighters also responded to multiple reports of smoke and a possible fire in the Kīhei area but did not find any fire. The Kīhei crew reported light winds and lots of smoke from the Pāʻia brush fire inundating the entire area from north Kīhei to Piʻilani Highway, and down through South Kīhei Road. FSC Taomoto said “weather conditions were keeping the smoke hanging low to the ground as it traveled downwind across the island.”

Original Post: 9:25 p.m. 6.11.17

Maui Fire crews are responding to a report of a fire below the Old Pāʻia Mill. Fire and police personnel were on scene at 9:25 p.m on Sunday, June 11, 2017.

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