Hundreds of acres burned but Kahana fire no longer ‘actively raging’

Maui Now

12 p.m. update: A wildfire that burned under 1,000 acres above Kahana Ridge in West Maui is no longer actively raging, the Maui Fire Department reported. However, the fire did get into a few gulch areas that are proving to be challenging for firefighters.

The fire was 55 percent contained as of noon today.

All roads were reopened before 5:30 a.m. today. A shelter at the Lahaina Civic Center was closed, and people in Kahana were allowed to return home overnight. Fire crews fought brush fires that threatened homes in the Kahana Ridge area. There were no reports of injuries. Property damage was limited to singed rooftops, according to unconfirmed reports.

The Lahaina Civic Center was closed as a shelter as of 7 a.m. today. No one sought shelter overnight. However, about a half dozen people checked in at the shelter after it opened on Tuesday.

Late this morning, crews aboard three helicopters were making water drops and assessing the fire’s activity. Firefighters remained on the scene, including Engine 11 Napili, Mini 11 Napili, Ladder 3 Lahaina, Tanker 3 Lahaina, Battalion Chief 6, Relief Engine 14, a back firing team, Tanker 14 from Wailea, Air 1, 2 & 3 and a Goodfellow tanker. Crews were concentrating on attacking the perimeter of the fire, which is more than 5.5 miles long.

“I would like to thank firefighters, police and first responders who have been hard at work protecting life and property with this wildfire,” Mayor Michael Victorino said. “I ask everyone to continue to be vigilant and to stay away from the areas where fire crews need access to the fire.”

Maui Emergency Management Agency officials reported that Maui County qualifies for federal financial assistance reimbursement of up to 75 percent of qualifying expenses for this fire. Federal assistance was approved because the fire threatened lives and property and required evacuations.


8 a.m. update: All roads reopened before 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Lahaina Civic Center shelter closed and people in Kahana were allowed to return home after Maui firefighters continued to battle a blaze overnight above Kahana Ridge.

The Kahana Ridge fire remained 45 percent contained, and the acreage affected was under 1,000 acres, the Maui Fire Department reported.

Overnight, fire crews fought brush fires that threatened homes in the Kahana Ridge area. There were no reports of injuries or property damage.

The Lahaina Civic Center was closed as a shelter as of 7 a.m. today. No one sought shelter overnight. However, about a half dozen people checked in at the shelter after it opened on Tuesday.

This morning, crews aboard two helicopters were making water drops and assessing the fire’s activity.


Evacuations have been made as the Kahana Ridge fire spreads, including the residences at the top of Kaka’alaneo Drive and Ala Hoku Place.

As of 5 p.m., the fire burned about 964 acres, according to the fire department. About 40 fire personnel, three air units and several tankers and dozers from our county and private partners are responding to this fire.

Fire personnel are also working on protecting Maui Electric Co. utility poles located mauka of Kapalua Airport.

First responders evacuated homes in Kahana Ridge and Ala Hoku subdivisions as well as on Mahinahina Street due to the fire. Kapalua Airport was also closed and evacuated at around 2:30 p.m.

On Ala Hoku Place, evacuations started around 2 p.m.

“The police went up and down the street and they were on their loudspeaker basically telling everyone to evacuate,” said Ron Agrillo.

In neighborhoods near the fire, some people took extra precautions.

“All the people who are close to the fire, they’re on their roofs and they’re watering their roofs,” said Tony Nunez.

A shelter opened at the Lahaina Civic Center at 5:30 p.m. The county is working on getting cots in the shelter for those staying overnight. The shelter is pet friendly but pets must be collared, leashed and crated.

The fire, which was reported around 1:18 p.m., was initially approximated to be three or four acres. It spread due to dry conditions and steady winds in the area.

“You can feel it everywhere. It’s really hot and a lot of the – back then, they used to grow pineapple here so a lot of the black plastic from the pineapple is flying in the air,” said Nunez.

Dozens of firefighters are busy trying to put out fire on the ground, while earlier in the day, a fire helicopter was making drop after drop, pulling up water from wherever was closest, including swimming pools.

“[The pilot] was making some ocean runs, it looked like at first, but then he saw the pools and then started going down, which… it takes a skilled pilot to do that, basically just load after load. [He] hit the hot spots first,” said Agrillo.

Honoapiilani Highway is closed at Hoohui Road and officials report that the fire has now reached the runway at the Kapalua Airport which was evacuated earlier in the afternoon. The State Department of Transportation tweeted that planes at the airport flew out prior to the evacuation order.

The County of Maui continues to advise residents to be prepared for possible power outages, road closures and evacuations.

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