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Maui brush fire flares up

A crew of Maui firefighters are standing watch overnight after the Kahikinui brush fire that began last week on Haleakala’s south slope flared up this afternoon.

The blaze got as close as 1.5 miles from a home. A Kahikinui Homestead resident reported at 3 p.m. that the fire had flared up.

Edward Taomoto, Maui Fire Department’s Fire Services Chief, said in an email, that Kula firefighters responded to the blaze, along with the Fire Department helicopter and two helicopters contracted by the county from Pacific Helicopter Tours, which made water drops until darkness set in.

The fire had burned three to four acres near the mauka perimeter at 3:54 p.m. By 6:30 p.m., it had grown to 7 to 10 acres and was creeping uphill into more densely forested areas, but winds were light and southerly, Taomoto said.

The helicopters and state Division of Forestry and Wildlife personnel will return at first light Thursday to resume firefighting operations.

Piilani Highway will be open to traffic, but the Fire Department advises motorists that it may close momentarily at any time due to helicopter operations.

Check Maui County Facebook pages, including the Maui Police Department, for the latest road closure notices.

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