Maui firefighters today contained about 80 percent of a massive brush fire that started three days earlier.
About a dozen firefighters were hitting hot spots on the east side of the fire and on the western flank in Ukumehame on Tuesday and were letting some smoldering areas deep within the blackened area burn themselves out, said Maui Fire Department spokesman Ed Taomoto. Firefighters planned to patrol the area overnight for hot spots.
Because of the fire’s size, firefighters are focusing on keeping a 50-foot firebreak around the perimeter and letting smoking logs more than 100 feet from the edge burn themselves out, Taomoto said.
The 4,700-acre fire began Saturday in Maalaea and burned over the mountain to the Ukumehame side, forcing the closure along the way of Honoapiilani Highway and the evacuation of businesses and homes in Maalaea.
Firefighters urged motorists to remain cautious while driving on Honoapiilani Highway from Maalaea to Ukumehame because firefighters may be working on or near the roadway.