Brush fire threatens Paia houses

Two acres of fallow cane land scorched

A 2-acre brush fire came within 10 feet of this house pictured on Ulumau Place in Paia on Sunday afternoon. Residents were briefly evacuated, but firefighters stopped the blaze from damaging any of the nearby homes. Maui Fire Department photo

The Maui News

Crews stopped a brush fire just short of homes on Ulumau Place in Paia on Sunday, according to a fire official.

The fire burned 2 acres of fallow cane land and threatened six homes but caused no structural damages, Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said.

At 4:27 p.m. Sunday, crews received a call about a fire burning east of Ulumau Place. A Paia crew was on the scene at 4:31 p.m. The department’s Air One helicopter also responded and helped save one of the houses most in danger.

“Right about the time that the Paia crew showed up . . . they saw that the fire was impinging on that house,” Taomoto said. “Air One showed up and made some water drops and helped to stop the fire at that house.”

The fire crept to within 10 feet of the house, Taomoto said. By 5:18 p.m., the full blaze was contained and, by 7:06 p.m., it was extinguished.

Police briefly evacuated residents on Maoli and Ulumau places, Taomoto said, but the fire was knocked down a short time later.

Based on witness statements, the cause of the fire is considered suspicious, Taomoto said. Neighbors reported seeing children running from the field just prior to the fire. No materials that could have started the fire were found.

Three engines and a tanker from Paia, Makawao and Kahului responded, as well as the Kahului battalion chief.