Update 3 p.m.: Fire grows to 4,300 acres, 75 percent contained

A large brush fire fed by strong winds had grown to 4,300 acres and was 75 percent contained as of 3 p.m. Thursday, according to the Maui Fire Department.

The fire, which started late Tuesday night in Haliimaile, had damaged numerous utility poles in the area. Fire Services Chief Rylan Yatsushiro said no homes are currently under threat.

Skill Village residents had been told Wednesday night to prepare for possible evacuation, and employees at the HC&D quarry and Central Maui Landfill were evacuated Wednesday as a precaution. The blaze has more than doubled since reaching 1,900 acres on Wednesday afternoon.

It also shut down several Upcountry roads, including Haliimaile Road, Haleakala Highway from Makani Road to Hana Highway and Pulehu Road between Hansen and Omaopio roads. At 9:40 a.m. Thursday, Haliimaile Road became the last road to reopen.

The Fire Department said Thursday that crews were continuing to use heavy equipment to cut breaks around the perimeter of the fire, while all other resources were working on securing the perimeter. Crews plan to work through the night to contain and monitor the fire.

Flames leap from a fallow former Haliimaile sugar cane field Wednesday morning. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

A total of 25 Maui Fire Department personnel, the department’s Air 1 and Air 2 helicopters, two MFD tankers, several dozers and water tankers from private companies were responding to the blaze.

Clear, strong and steady trades persisted throughout the day, estimated at 20 mph with higher gusts, the department said Thursday.

The fire was reported at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday on the makai side of Haliimaile Road near the Maui Trap & Gun Club range and Haleakala Highway.

The cause of the fire was still unknown as of Thursday afternoon.


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