Fueled by strong winds, Pāʻia brush fire chars hundreds of acres
A main roadway was closed and smoke could be detected as far away as Kīhei in an afternoon Pāʻia brush fire that had consumed about 370 acres by this evening.
Maui Fire Department said the fire was reported at 3:40 p.m. in brush mauka of Lower Pāʻia Beach Park (Baby Park) off Hāna Highway. No structures were initially threatened.
The intersections of Hāna and Haleakalā highways, along with Baldwin Avenue and Hāna Highway, were closed shortly after in lanes heading into Pāʻia due to fire mitigation efforts.
Residents as far away as North Kīhei and Central Maui could smell fire and feel their eyes burn from smoke.
Five engines, three tankers, MFD emergency callback personnel, with a specialized wild land firefighting unit, two helicopters and MFD partners were deployed.
Fueled by heavy winds and limited access to the site made for a challenging start to the fire, MFD said in a press release.
An earlier estimate of 30 acres charred, was inaccurate, according to department officials. At 6 p.m. the fire was 0% contained, but crews had gained a better handle on the fire later in the evening and had the fire 90% contained by 8:10 p.m.
Tradewinds were 10 to 20 mph and a wind advisory was in effect.
* News Director Wendy Osher contributed to this report.