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Tropical Storm Erick’s rain helps Maui firefighters douse brush fire

  • COURTESY MAUI FIRE DEPARTMENT

    The large brush fire on Maui can be seen burning, Thursday.

    >> PHOTO GALLERY

  • COURTESY MAUI FIRE DEPARTMENT

    A map of the perimeter of a brush fire on Maui.

Rain from the passing Tropical Storm Erick today helped fire crews contain a brush fire that broke out on Maui Thursday.

The Maui Fire Department said the blaze was 80% contained by late this afternoon.

Firefighters initially responded to the fire at about 1:53 p.m. Thursday on the Kihei side of Haleakala Highway below Pukalani. Strong winds fanned the flames into Central Valley.

The brush fire scorched about 5,300 acres of primarily former sugar cane fields.

A weakening Tropical Storm Erick passed well to the south of Maui this morning, delivering need rain for the firefighting effort.

“The continued rain, light winds and cooler conditions have aided in reducing fire activity,” a fire department news release said. “Fire crews continue to douse hot spots and flare ups along the perimeter.”

“An investigation into the cause of the fire has revealed that the fire was accidental and caused by farm equipment working in the fields near Haleakala Highway,” officials said.

A Maui fire spokesman said flames damaged some power lines and irrigation equipment, but there were no reports of widespread power outages.

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