Fire crews monitor brush fire hot spots

A suspicious set of brush fires that began Monday south of the Pulehu-Omaopio Road intersection will likely keep firefighters busy extinguishing hot spots through Saturday, a Maui County fire official said Wednesday.

The fire remained 75 percent contained Wednesday with smoldering hot spots still inside the perimeter of the set of three brush fires that covered 100 acres, said Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto.

Crews from Paia and Kahului and a tanker from Kahului snuffed out hot spots Wednesday, he said. More crews will be doing the same today.

Bulldozers may be brought in to break up piles of buried organic matter that can create an “imu effect,” Taomoto said. The areas will then be left to cool after being shot down with water.

It could take until Saturday to douse all the hot spots because of the number of fires, their size and the time it takes to reach the remote sites mostly in old cane fields, he said.

The fires, about a half-mile to a mile apart, initially were reported at 3:40 p.m. Monday. Because the fires were in remote cane fields, no structures were threatened.

The fire was only 75 percent contained because dozers could not cut breaks and completely surround the fires because of inaccessible gulches.