Day 4: Maui EKO Green Waste Fire

August 14, 2017, 5:36 AM HST · Updated August 14, 10:44 AM
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Green waste fire at Maui EKO Systems within the Central Maui Landfill. PC: by Kevin J Olson (8.11.17, 3:38 p.m.) Maui Now graphics.

Update: (10:31 a.m. 8.14.17)

The Central Landfill and the Olowalu Recycling and Refuse Convenience Center are both open for regular hours today.  The Central Landfill was closed Saturday after being affected by smoke caused by an ongoing fire at the Maui EKO Systems composting site adjacent to the landfill.  Fire fighters anticipate that flareups may occur over the next few days; however, the landfill is currently open for regular hours today.

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Maui fire crews continued to douse hot spots over the weekend at the Maui EKO Systems composting facility where a green waste fire was first reported on Friday afternoon.

Central Maui Landfill fire (8.11.17) PC: Asa Ellison

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An engine company and water tanker from Kahului spent Sunday morning cooling hot spots as heavy equipment pulled apart sections of the 15 foot high pile of green waste material that were still burning. Heavy equipment also made a firebreak by cutting a path through the mound of dried tree cuttings and landscaping waste, separating the unburned material from the areas that were actively burning.

By Sunday, the fire was contained within the borders of the Central Maui Landfill. Fire crews left at about 1 p.m. Sunday after a long period of no active fires, but crews returned at 7:30 p.m. Sunday night for another flare-up.

Fire officials say that it’s highly likely there will be more flare-ups over the next several days. “The organic material is piled very high and will tend to hold heat from the fires quite long. Even with the thousands of gallons of water shot into the debris pile, there will still be areas deep within that do not cool completely and will end up rekindling,” said Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto.

It is not known what caused the fire. Authorities say that because the fire was actively burning for the past several days, an investigation could not take place.

The fire first erupted at 2:40 p.m. on Friday afternoon, Aug. 11, 2017.

The decision whether or not to reopen the Central Maui Landfill will be made in this morning after assessing the smoke conditions downwind of the Maui EKO facility. The facility was closed over the weekend because of heavy smoke and ongoing fire fighting efforts.

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