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Maui firefighters contain 70 percent of brush fire in Kahikinui


    An aerial view shows the Kahikinui brush fire on Maui on Thursday.

The massive fire that has blackened approximately 5,300 acres of land in Kahikinui since Monday was 70 percent contained as of this evening, according to Maui fire officials.

County and State Forestry Division firefighters spent today mopping up smoldering areas across an 8-mile area, walking along areas inaccessible to bulldozers and using hand tools and water packs to wet down hotspots found next to unburned brush.

Bulldozers from Ulupalakua Ranch and Goodfellow Brothers Construction assisted in creating additional firebreaks in the problem areas.

The Fire Department’s Air 1 helicopter made water drops and delivered water to crews mopping up. The helicopter was also used to insert and pick up firefighters working in remote areas with no drivable access, fire officials said.

While no active fires were detected, fire officials said there still may be smoldering areas so a fire engine and water tanker from Wailea will be remain at the scene overnight to continue monitoring.

Meanwhile, the American Red Cross shelter established at Keokea Park in Kula on Monday evening was closed. The shelter could be reopened if the fire reignites over the weekend.

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