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Fire burns 60 acres of brush in Puunene

Police cars and fire trucks block Pulehu Road at Hansen Road near the Central Maui Landfill, with the road closed while firefighters battle a brush fire Wednesday afternoon. LENIE LAWRENCE photo

A brush fire that spread quickly in strong winds and burned about 60 acres in Puunene was largely contained Wednesday afternoon, as firefighters continued working to extinguish the blaze.

Damage to three utility poles was being assessed from the fire, which was reported at 12:32 p.m. on Pulehu Road at Firebreak Road, according to the Maui Fire Department.

People near the old Puunene School were evacuated as a precaution, while four engine companies, three Fire Department tankers, the Fire Department’s Air One helicopter and a battalion chief responded to the fire.

Mahi Pono, Alpha Construction, HC&D and the county Department of Public Works supported firefighting operations with heavy equipment and water tankers.

Pulehu Road was closed to traffic from Hansen Road near the Central Maui Landfill while firefighters fought the blaze.

A Fire Department helicopter makes water drops on a brush fire near Pulehu and Firebreak roads in Puunene on Wednesday afternoon. LENIE LAWRENCE photo

As of mid-afternoon Wednesday, the fire was 90 percent contained, the Fire Department reported. Winds were estimated at 10 to 20 mph at the time of the fire.

Its cause is under investigation.

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