High winds fuel brush fire, hamper emergency crews on Maui
WAILUKU — High winds have fueled a brush fire and created challenging conditions for firefighters on Maui, emergency officials said.
The fire was reported late Tuesday on Haliimaile Road near the Maui Trap & Gun Club range and Haleakala Highway, The Maui News reported Thursday.
The cause of the fire was unknown.
The fire had burned about 3 square miles and was 30% contained by late Wednesday afternoon.
The fire crossed Haleakala Highway amid high winds and parts of the highway and nearby roads were closed.
About 40 firefighters, three helicopters and three Maui Fire Department tankers were engaged in fighting the fire, along with several bulldozers and water tankers from private companies.
“The challenge mostly is high winds, at this point, and wanting to make sure our firefighters don’t get caught up in the wrong direction,” Maui County Managing Director Sandy Baz said Wednesday.
Kahului Airport firefighters were on standby, Baz said.
Nonessential employees were evacuated from the Central Maui Landfill, Maui EKO Systems Inc. and HC&D LLC, police said.
Baz asked residents to avoid the area for their safety and that of firefighters.
“Let the experts do their job,” he said.