SUV’s Hot Exhaust Ignites Mahinahina Brush Fire
A driver is safe, but her vehicle was destroyed after the exhaust from her SUV sparked a brush fire in Mahinahina on Friday morning.
Fire officials say the 46-year-old woman reported driving her SUV through tall grass and after stopping for a short time, she noticed flames coming from underneath her vehicle. The woman was able to get safely out of her vehicle and escaped injury, but her SUV was completely destroyed in the ensuing brush fire.
The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental after a vehicle’s hot exhaust likely ignited the grass under it. Fire officials say a component of the exhaust system called a catalytic converter can reach temperatures of 500 to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit and can easily ignite dry grass if it comes into contact with it.
West Maui fire crews responded to the report of a brush fire in the hills above the Kapalua Airport at 9:02 a.m. on Friday, June 30, 2017.
Nāpili firefighters arrived on scene at 9:25 a.m. to find a half-acre brush fire on the mauka side of the Mahinahina Water Treatment Facility, which is about 1.5 miles mauka of the Kapalua Airport.
Fire crews reported that there was barely any wind and the fire was not advancing very quickly. An engine company and water tanker from Lahaina arrived and fire crews were able to bring it under control at 9:50 a.m. The fire was called extinguished at 11 a.m.
Although the water treatment facility was nearby, fire officials say it was never in any danger of being impacted.