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Oahu, Maui, Big Isle brush fires keep firefighters busy

Brush fires kept firefighters busy across the islands today.

Most notable was a new brush fire that spread on west Maui, at Olowalu, following a separate large fire last weekend nearby at Maalaea.

The blaze at Olowalu was first reported 7:15 a.m. Friday in a field north of Ehehene Street, officials say.

By 2 p.m. Saturday, strong winds and dry, humid conditions helped it grow to about 1,300 acres, Maui fire officials said in a statement. Crews used bulldozers to cut firebreaks and three helicopters to drop water where needed, according to the Maui Fire Department.

It further reported having the fire about 30 percent contained as of 2 p.m.

Some 55 personnel worked to contain the Maui fire Saturday and authorities did not anticipate any road closures. The personnel included 30 Maui firefighters, 13 firefighters from the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and 12 from Goodfellow Brothers Construction, West Maui Land Co. and Maui County Public Works.

No structures were damaged, but the fire destroyed a $20,000 backhoe.

The occupants of three houses were evacuated Friday, but were allowed to return in the evening.

Meanwhile, on Oahu, Honolulu firefighters responded to a fire in Waianae that authorities said was sparked in a pile of rubbish and threatened a nearby building. The blaze was reported 3:35 p.m. at 85-180 Ala Akau St., according to the Honolulu Fire Department.

Some seven units responded and put it out before it reached the building, according to an HFD spokesman. Then, some of those units responded to put out a small brush fire nearby on Iliili Road, he said.

Four HFD units also responded to a fire reported 4:45 p.m. on Wilinau Road on the North Shore. Details on that blaze weren’t immediately available, but it was reported contained at 6:15 p.m.

On Hawaii island, fire officials battled a brush fire just south of the Lokahi Apartments in Kailua-Kona. The blaze did not prompt any road closures, and the Hawaii Fire Department did not have further details Saturday afternoon.

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