Firefighters: Fierce winds, steep terrain make it difficult to contain West Maui wildfire
WEST MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Fierce winds are not making it any easier for firefighters on the Valley Isle who have been battling a difficult brush fire for four days now.
At last check, the blaze scorched approximately 2,100 acres in West Maui and was still only 40% contained.
Some residents who live along the slopes of the West Maui Mountains were back home Friday after evacuating earlier in the week.
“I packed up the kids. I said, ‘Grab your personal belongings. Grab anything that means anything to you.’ I grabbed my passports, birth certificates, things like that,” said Launiupoko resident Tenya Jayawuk.
Residents like Jayawuk who live on Punakea Loop say the week has been traumatizing, especially after the 2018 West Maui wildfires when 21 homes were destroyed.
“Because of 2018, when we had to go running for our lives at like one in the morning when the fires were coming at us, I didn’t want to mess around again,” Jayawuk said.
Friday’s high winds and the steep terrain in the area made firefighting efforts exceptionally challenging.
“Some of the biggest challenges we had were definitely access issues because of the off-road nature,” said Battalion Chief Kaulana Kino. “Made it very challenging for some of our fire units to be able to find the fire location, be able to refill water timely.”
Kino said crews have secured the makai flank of the mountain. They continue to work on the flames in the mauka areas.
“This community is tremendous. Lahaina has so much resiliency, West Maui has so much resiliency and pride for this place,” Kino said.
“It’s kept our spirits high to continue working and really feel invested in this place to protect it.”
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