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Maui brushfire now 75 percent contained

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services

LAST UPDATED: 1:03 p.m. HST, Jun 9, 2010

A brush fire that has burned about 5,800 acres in West Maui is now 75 percent contained, a Maui County spokeswoman said.

Maui firefighters using five helicopters, three water tankers, and two bulldozers resumed fighting the brush fire in Maalaea at dawn today, said county spokeswoman Mahina Martin.

Honoaplilani Highway remained open today, however Martin said the fire could still lead to intermittent road closures.

Nearly 100 county and state firefighters have battled the blaze. Two National Guard helicopters also assisted with the fire. So far, there is no threat to structures, Martin said.

The area has also been in "extreme drought" conditions for nearly a year and a high wind advisory was posted earlier in the day.

Two Red Cross shelters were to remain open until 9 a.m. today and are on standby. The shelter at Lahaina Civic Center accommodated one person last night and ten people stayed overnight at the War Memorial Gym in Wailuku.

One firefighter was treated at Maui Memorial Medical Center for smoke inhalation and released. 

Sen. Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel K. Akaka said Fire Management Assistance Grants, funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will help offset costs incurred by the county and state. The grant was requested by the state yesterday and approved this morning.

"I am closely monitoring the Maui fire and my thoughts and prayers are with the residents and the fire fighters battling this blaze," said Inouye. 

"I commend Maui's fire fighters and emergency officials for their coordinated effort to contain the fire above Maalaea and protect neighboring communities," Akaka added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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