Maui firefighters work to fully contain two brush fires; all roads open; no evacuations; shelters closed

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Maui Fire Department continues to contain two large brush fires, beginning air drops of water with the Air One and two helicopters after sunrise Saturday.

Containment is at 80 percent for the 9,000-acre wildfire that began Thursday morning near the intersection of Waiko Road and Kuihelani Highway and spread south and east to north Kihei.

A separate fire reported at 1:30 p.m. Friday near Lowe’s and the new Safeway remains at 90 percent contained for 200 acres burned.

Residents and visitors may see smoke in the Puunene area due to a Maui Fire Department firing team “burning out” areas around the Puunene fire to remove unburned fuels that would jeopardize the perimeter.

Firefighters continue work on the fire perimeters, putting out hot spots and flare-ups.

“I would like to remind our residents and visitors to stay alert and vigilant for the next few days,” Mayor Michael Victorino said. “I also would like to thank all the firefighters, police, first responders, emergency management personnel, private contractors, state partners and volunteers who worked tirelessly to protect lives and property.”

A re-assessment of the fires’ containment will be done later.

Air drops of water continue.

All roads are open, and there are no current evacuations, police reported.

About 25 visitors who were stranded at Kahului Airport on Friday night sought shelter at Maui High School.

They were transported back to the airport at 5 a.m. by buses provided by the County of Maui Department of Transportation.

Other visitors who were stuck at the airport because of American Airlines flight cancellations made other arrangements.

Seven people remained at the airport overnight.

The Maui High shelter is now closed. There are no open shelters currently, although they may be reopened if the need arises.

The Department of Parks and Recreation reported that the Kihei Aquatics Center and the Pukalani pools reopened at 9 a.m. Saturday. The Kihei pool has been cleared of ash and debris, and air quality has improved significantly at the Pukalani pool.

Maui Economic Opportunity buses were operating Saturday morning from its Wailuku facility, but the buses were expected to return to the Puunene baseyard later Saturday after being evacuated Friday afternoon.

Maui County residents are being asked to heed wildfire safety practices such as clearing leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches and decks; getting rid of dead vegetation and other combustible material from within 10 feet of homes; and removing flammable materials such as firewood stacks and propane tanks from within 30 feet of a home’s foundation.

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