Remote Olinda Forest Fire Sparked by Downed Power Line
Update: Makawao firefighters responded to the upper Olinda area for reports of smoke coming from the forest area near the Waihou Spring Forest Reserve on Olinda Road at around 2:07 p.m. on Tuesday, June 27, 2017.
The Makawao fire crew arrived at about 2:53 p.m. to find an area of shrubs and underbrush burning in a forested area of Waihou Spring Forest Reserve, which is across the street from the Maui Bird Conservation Center on Olinda Road. They also discovered an electrical power line lying on the ground near the fire.
Because of difficult access to the area and no readily available water supply, the fire department helicopter was brought in to make water drops on a fire moving slowly through small shrubs and dead plant material on the ground.
The department’s Air-1 helicopter was used to conduct water drops for just over an hour before it left the scene at 4:45 p.m. The fire affected about one acre of shrubs and underbrush.
Firefighters from the state, Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife were also on hand and assisted county crews in getting the fire in the forest reserve extinguished.
Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said firefighters determined that the fire was caused by a fallen electrical power line after a tree branch fell over it, knocking the line off the pole. There were no injuries and no structures were threatened.
When county firefighters left the scene at 6:30 p.m., fire crews from the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife took over and were still working to completely extinguish the smoldering underbrush.
Maui fire crews are responding to a brush fire reported shortly before 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, in the Olinda/Makawao forest area.
The department’s Air 1 helicopter was dispatched to make water drops in the area due to the inability for ground crews to gain immediate access to the site.