Fire inspectors investigate rash of brush blazes in West Maui

Fire inspectors are investigating eight brush fires that may have been intentionally set in the early-morning hours Tuesday in West Maui, a fire official said.

The fires were reported in a 71-minute period, beginning at 3:37 a.m. when Lahaina engine, ladder and tanker companies responded to a 10,000-square-foot brush fire in the median of the Keawe Street section of the Lahaina bypass and another 15,000-square-foot grass fire about a quarter-mile south, said Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga.

While firefighters were dousing those fires, another fire was seen a mile south on the Lahaina bypass. That grass fire covered an area of about 22,500 square feet, Mainaga said.

A fourth brush fire was reported at 3:44 a.m. at Milepost 17 on Honoapiilani Highway in the area known as Cut Mountain. Wailuku firefighters and a Kahului tanker responded to the fire that covered an area of about 10,000 square feet on the mauka side of the highway.

About 35 minutes later, Napili and Lahaina fire companies responded to a brush fire reported at 4:19 a.m. above Leialii Parkway. Crews found three fires at the location – two of about 100 square feet and one that was 200 square feet.

A final brush fire was reported at 4:48 a.m. above Wahikuli Road. The Lahaina engine company found a 500-square-foot grass fire makai of an old cane haul road and about 50 feet from nearby homes.

Mainaga said all eight fires were extinguished by 6:09 a.m.

“It appears that these brush fires may have been intentionally set,” he said. No injuries or monetary damage were reported.