Officials: West Maui fire 90% contained - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Officials: West Maui fire 90% contained

Jan Ehrenkrook Jan Ehrenkrook
Tim Nakamoto Tim Nakamoto
Chief Derrick Arruda Chief Derrick Arruda

OLOWALU, Maui (HawaiiNewsNow) – Maui Fire officials said Friday afternoon that a brushfire burning near Olowalu is 90% contained. Officials are advising the public that flare-ups may continue for several more days and that strong winds are still a concern.

On Tuesday the fire came within 25 feet of a home under construction. Firefighters worked hard to keep the flames away from the structure and were able to stop the fire from advancing into the residential area. One firefighter who was experiencing elevated vital signs was taken to the hospital, but was released after being examined by doctors.

The flames were first reported just before 2:30 PM on Monday in the Ukumehame area. Monday night, winds shifted the fire toward the Olowalu subdivision. Police went door-to-door just before 1:00 AM Tuesday to alert and evacuate about 100 residents.

Jan Ehrenkrook woke up around 1:00 AM and saw large flames heading towards her home.

"I t looked like a wall of fire coming from the top going all the way down" said Ehrenkrook, gesturing towards the ridgeline.

"The wind was picking up pretty quick and my neighbor John was on the roof with fire hoses and sprinklers most of the night, except for about an hour where we all had to totally leave."

Tuesday, authorities closed part of Honoapiilani Highway for several hours, causing problems for visitors and residents.

"My workers, a janitor and another maintenance worker got stuck in traffic. So for them now not to stay in traffic for such a long time, they just took the day off" said Kapalua Airport employee Tim Nakamoto.

"The smoke was inundating the highway this morning pretty bad because the winds were actually off shore. We had very heavy burning along the lower section of the highway" Battalion Chief Derrick Arruda of the Maui County Fire Department said Tuesday.

"I'll be concerned for the next couple nights after the last fire, almost three years ago. Two nights after it was over, doors were knocked on and we were told to evacuate and embers were still burning. So I'll leave my hoses and sprinklers on" said Ehrenkrook.

Red Cross shelters remain available at the War Memorial Gym and the Lahaina Civic Center for those displaced.

Travelers in the West Maui area with departing flights out of the Kahului airport are advised to check with their airline carriers and plan accordingly. Drivers should be prepared for delays entering and leaving West Maui.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. No structures have been damaged and no serious injuries have been reported.

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