Fire fully contained; work to quell hot spots in 5,300-acre Pukalani blaze will continue
The Maui Fire Department reported the brush fire that swept through about 5,300 acres of fallow former sugar cane fields below Pukalani since its start Thursday was 100 percent contained as of 3 p.m. Saturday.
Two MFD engine companies, along with several tankers, worked Saturday on several “stubborn” hot spots in gulches along Pulehu Road. Crews are expected to continue to extinguish these areas around the perimeter over the next several days, said Chris Stankis, MFD acting information officer.
Farm equipment was the reason behind the “accidental” fire that started on Mahi Pono land just before 2 p.m. Thursday, officials said. It quickly spread due to high winds from Tropical Storm Erick and temporarily shut down a portion of Pulehu Road that day.
No evacuations were ordered and no homes were in danger during the duration of the fire, MFD said.
Maui Electric Co. reported Friday that it sustained about $1 million in damages due to dozens of fire-impacted power poles and lines in the area.
“A majority of the damaged poles are located in a remote gulch, which required crews to hike in to start repairs today and equipment and materials to be flown in to the area by helicopter,” said MECO spokeswoman Shayna Decker said.
Electrical service to customers was not impacted by the fire, she added.
Maui Pono irrigation equipment was damaged but an estimate was not immediately available, according to Shan Tsutsui, Mahi Pono senior vice president.
In July, a 9,000-acre wildfire burned through fallow fields from Waikapu to South Maui and a 200-acre wildfire consumed former sugar cane land in Puunene. No injuries or major damage was reported in the fires. Arson is being investigated in both cases, and an arrest was made in connection with the larger blaze.