Maui Brush Fire 90 Percent Contained After Burning 4,100 Acres

Oct 2, 2019

Updated: Oct. 4, 5:01 p.m.

Maui firefighters say a brush fire in Maalaea Mauka that has burned 4,100 acres remains at 90 percent containment as of Friday afternoon. Firefighters and state forestry workers were mopping up hot spots and will continue to do so until sunset, according to a 4 p.m. update.

The effort to douse the fire has focused on its perimeter. Water drops resumed shortly after mid-day but the operation has since wrapped up. The Maui Fire Department plans to continue monitoring the fire through the night.

The Papalaua Wayside Park campground was damaged after the wildfire jumped Honoapiilani Highway Wednesday and it has been closed until further notice. Park officials said camp users with permits will be contacted and the campground will be reassessed on Monday.

No injuries have been reported from the fire. Residents on Maalaea Bay Road and Kaheawa Wind Farm employees were evacuated Wednesday but no evacuations are currently in effect.

Emergency shelters at Maui High School and Princess Nahienaena Elementary in Lahaina as well as Velma McWayne Santos Community Center and Lahaina Civic Center were closed Thursday morning. 

The American Red Cross saw about 450 people at Maui High and 22 at Princess Nahienaena school. 

The Maui Fire Department made water drops in the Maalaea area earlier in the week, with heavy equipment crews focusing on Honoapiilani Highway from King's Trail and the Ukumehame Firing Range. 

"We want to remind the public to continue watching and listening for emergency messaging and observe all directions by police personnel,” said Maui Emergency Management Agency Administrator Herman Andaya.

"The public is asked to remain vigilant and sign up for emergency alerts through Maka`ala.” The Makaʻala emergency alert signup is available on the county website. Residents can also sign up for road closure notifications on the county's web page.

Firefighters responded to the fire located on the upper slopes near the North Kihei Road and Honoapiilani Highway intersection at around 9:10 a.m. on Wednesday. Officials described the terrain as extremely steep with limited access to the fire.

The Maui Fire Department also contained a smaller fire in the Wailuku area that had burned about four acres on Wednesday. The blaze was reported at around 4:53 p.m.