Kahana Ridge Brush Fire 70% Contained

Oct 22, 2019

Kapalua Airport in Maui has reopened after a brush fire damaged power lines, forcing it to close and prompting evacuation of nearby residents Tuesday. By Wednesday afternoon, Maui officials say the fire burned less than a thousand acres, and is 70% contained.

Updated 10/23, 4:00 PM

Fire crews fought brush fires above Kahana Ridge overnight. There were no reports of injuries. According to unconfirmed reports, property damage is limited to singed rooftops.

This morning, crews aboard two helicopters made water drops and assessed the fire's activity. Fire officials say the fire did get into a few gulch areas, and are proving to be a challenge. Fire crews are still fighting the blaze in those hard-to-reach gulches.

Tim Sakahara, spokesperson for the state’s Department of Transportation explained that flames approached the perimeter of the airport yesterday and smoke also impacted aircraft visibility.

Incoming flights were diverted to Maui’s Kahalui airport.

All planes on the ground were able to take off before the evacuation order went into effect.

Sakahara said about eight flights were impacted.

“It’s going to be closed for today as the crews battle the fire throughout the evening,” he said. “In the morning we’re going to have to reassess not only the fire and what the conditions are with that, but also the power situation to determine if the power has been restored at the airport.”

Sakahara said that Makani Kai, Mokulele, Hawaiian Airlines and cargo carriers are the main companies that will be affected by airport closure.

This is a developing story.