10:15 A.M. UPDATE: Paia brush fire contained; road reopened; crews handling hot spots
PAIA — The Paia brush fire that burned about 600 acres, threatening a school and Skill Village homes, was deemed 100 percent contained as of Sunday morning.
Also, Baldwin Avenue was fully reopened by 1 a.m., according to a county announcement.
Fire crews, though, were continuing to mop up and a hot spot was being doused Sunday morning at the edge of Doris Todd Christian Academy, where the fire reached the edge of the sports field and campus.
Several fire trucks were on site at the school, and a tractor was removing charred logs from the field above the school.
Blackened plots of land were seen along Baldwin Avenue, where flames reached within inches of roadway.
There were no reported injuries or property damage, although some evacuations occurred near Baldwin Avenue on Saturday, the county said Sunday.
Police responded to medical calls Saturday afternoon from Skill Village residents, who were temporarily without power and couldn’t leave the area due to heavy smoke, low visibility and unsafe road conditions.
During the fire, Baldwin Avenue was closed from Mill Street to Paia Elementary School.
The brush fire was reported just after 1 p.m. Saturday near Holomua Road, which runs along old Maui High School and through cane fields. It connects Hana Highway and Baldwin Avenue.
Blustery conditions moved the fire quickly toward Baldwin Avenue and Doris Todd.
The Air 1 and 2 helicopters made water drops on the fire, according to a news release. Also responding to the blaze were with firefighters with Engine 2 from Paia, Engine 10 from Kahului and Engine 5 from Makawao. Engine 14 from Wailea and Engine 6 from Kihei. Private water tanker crews assisted.
The fire is still under investigation, and its cause is undetermined, spokesman Brian Perry said Sunday morning.
However, Mayor Michael Victorino urged caution moving forward, especially during the holidays when fireworks are used.
“I would like to thank firefighters, police, private contractor heavy equipment crews and everyone who responded quickly to this brush fire that threatened Skill Village in Paia,” he said in a statement Sunday. “Thankfully, there were no injuries or property damage, but we must remain vigilant and stay safe, especially as the New Year’s holiday approaches. Aerial fireworks are illegal, and I fully support the Maui Police Department in its enforcement of a new state law aimed at cracking down on illegal aerial fireworks.”