Unscheduled blaze burns 270 acres of cane

PAIA – A fire burned about 270 acres of sugar cane in Paia, sending up white smoke that was visible in Central Maui and causing road closures at Baldwin Avenue and Holomua Road, police and fire officials said.

By Sunday evening, all county roads were reopened aside from Holomua Road in the area of the old Maui High School, which is private property owned by Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., police said.

The unscheduled cane fire began around 10:30 a.m. when firefighters and tankers from Paia, Makawao, Kahului, Kihei and Wailea responded to an area off of Holomua Road, said Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga.

He said that the department’s Air One helicopter also assisted in fighting the fire.

Fire crews had contained about 80 percent of the fire at 3:45 p.m., “extinguishing hot spots and conducting mop-up operations,” Mainaga said.

By 4 p.m., firefighting operations were turned over to HC&S, Mainaga said.

While working to contain the cane fire, crews also extinguished a 5,000-square-foot brush fire near Honopou Road in Haiku on Sunday afternoon, Mainaga said. Hana Highway was closed briefly while firefighters worked in the area.