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Wildfire no longer a threat to Kahana Ridge Subdivision, Maui officials say

  • COURTESY HAWAII DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION
                                A brush fire, Tuesday, suspended flight operations at the Kapalua Airport after nearby power lines were damaged, according to the State Department of Transportation.

    COURTESY HAWAII DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION

    A brush fire, Tuesday, suspended flight operations at the Kapalua Airport after nearby power lines were damaged, according to the State Department of Transportation.

  • COURTESY HAWAII DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION
                                The brush fire, Tuesday, reached the Kapalua Airport’s runway, according to Maui County officials.

    COURTESY HAWAII DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION

    The brush fire, Tuesday, reached the Kapalua Airport’s runway, according to Maui County officials.

  • COURTESY CHRIS SPEICHER
                                Firefighters from the Maui Fire Department are on the scene of a brush fire Tuesday afternoon near Kahana Ridge on Maui.

    COURTESY CHRIS SPEICHER

    Firefighters from the Maui Fire Department are on the scene of a brush fire Tuesday afternoon near Kahana Ridge on Maui.

UPDATE: 6:40 p.m.

The Kahana fire was 70 percent contained by late Wednesday afternoon and the Kahana Ridge Subdivision is no longer threatened by the wildfire, Maui officials said.

Maui Fire Department’s Air One helicopter continued water drops through the afternoon and officials said that engine companies, two tankers and one ladder truck, also remained on scene.

There were no evacuations or major road closures, as of late afternoon, they said.

12:15 p.m.

Maui fire officials say the wildfire above Kahana Ridge in West Maui is no longer actively raging, and was about 55% contained as of noon today.

However, the fire did get into a few gulch areas that are proving to be challenging for firefighters.

Late this morning, crews aboard three helicopters continued to make water drops while assessing the fire’s activity.

Firefighters remained on the scene, including Engine 11 Napili, Mini 11 Napili, Ladder 3 Lahaina, Tanker 3 Lahaina, Battalion Chief 6, Relief Engine 14, a back firing team, Tanker 14 from Wailea, Air 1, 2 & 3 and a Goodfellow tanker.

The fire broke out at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, and burned almost 1,000 acres. Fire crews concentrated on attacking the perimeter of the fire, which is more than 5.5 miles long. They also fought brush fires that threatened homes in the Kahana Ridge area.

There have been no reports of injuries.

Maui Emergency Management Agency officials reported that Maui County qualifies for federal financial assistance reimbursement of up to 75% of qualifying expenses for this fire.

9:15 a.m.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has authorized used of federal funds to assist the state in battling the brush fire in Kahana in West Maui.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said the funds come from FEMA’s Fire Management Assistance Grant Program, which offers federal funding for the mitigation, management, and control of fires deemed likely to constitute a major disaster. Hawaii may use it to cover the costs of equipment, supplies, and temporary repair of damages caused by firefighting, as well as costs associated with emergency workers, including field camps, meals, and an emergency operations center.

“This new emergency federal funding will strengthen efforts to contain the Kahana Ridge fire and keep families safe,” said Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, in a news release. “We’re thankful to FEMA for quickly approving our state’s request.”

The fire broke out at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. Strong winds fanned the flames, threatening 500 homes in and around communities near Napili-Honokowai with a combined population of approximately 3,000 people, according to a FEMA news release. The fire also threatened 15 buildings, infrastructure, utilities and Kapalua Airport.

8:30 a.m.

All roads reopened before 5:30 a.m. and the Lahaina Civic Center shelter closed as of 7 a.m. after Kahana residents were allowed to return home as firefighters continue to battle the brush fire above Kahana Ridge in West Maui, according to a county spokesman.

The Kapalua Airport also reopened this morning for normal operations, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The Maui Fire Department reported the fire scorched nearly 1,000 acres. Fire crews aboard helicopters are conducting water drops today. “I would like to thank firefighters, police and first responders who have been hard at work protecting life and property with this wildfire,” Mayor Michael Victorino said in a news release. “I ask everyone to continue to be vigilant and to stay away from the areas where fire crews need access to the fire.”

No injuries were reported. Maui county spokesman Brian Perry said there were unconfirmed reports Tuesday of properties that the fire affected or singed the roof but no reports of substantive damage.

7:15 a.m.

Maui Mayor Mike Victorino declared a local state of emergency Tuesday night due to a fast-moving brush fire that scorched an estimated 964 acres in West Maui Tuesday forced the evacuation of area residents after the blaze burned homes.

In the mayor’s proclamation posted on Maui County’s website, Victorino said, “The fire remains out-of-control, strong winds continue to fan the fire, and the fire poses and imminent threat to life and property.”

It is not immediately known how many homes were damaged by the fire.

Victorino added the need for government agencies and the private sector to mobilize and provide immediate assistance to isle residents and visitors to mitigate hazardous situations.

The fire broke out at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Kahana area. As of 10:15 p.m., firefighters contained approximately 45 percent of the fire.

Air operations are expected to resume battling the fire at dawn today.

All roads have since reopened except for Kahana Nui Road. County officials said residents south of Kahana Nui in Kahana Ridge may access their homes via Hoohui Road.

Tuesday, 5:30 p.m.

The fire department is continuing to fight the fire in West Maui, and are working to protect homes in the Kahana Ridge and Ala Hoku subdivisions.

First responders evacuated the homes in those subdivisions and on Mahinahina Street, Maui County said in a news release.

As of 5 p.m., the blaze had spread to 964 acres, the fire department reported.

MFD had 40 personnel, three air units, several tankers and county and private bulldozers working to contain the fire.

Fire personnel were also protecting Maui Electric Co. utility poles on the mauka side of Kapalua Airport.

The airport was evacuated at about 2:30 p.m.

The Maui Bus fixed route is delayed about 30 minutes and the commuter route is in operation from the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua to Kahului.

The American Red Cross and its volunteers are running an emergency shelter, which opened at 5:30 p.m., at the Lahaina Civic Center Social Hall, but no sleeping accommodations are currently available. Those seeking shelter are asked to bring their own food and water, the county said.

Maui Humane Society volunteers are there assisting at the pet friendly shelter. Pets must be crated with collar/harness and leash. Owners must provide food and water for pets.

Akahele Street, Ala Hoku Place, Kakaanaleo Drive, Honoapiilani Highway at Lower Honoapiilani Highway and Hoohui Road at Honoapiilani Highway are closed due to the fire.

Mayor Mike Victorino said: I want to strongly urge our residents and visitors to avoid the Kapalua area as our first responders fight this fire. Please keep the families affected by these fires and our public safety personnel in your thoughts and prayers.”

5:15 p.m.

The Kapalua Airport is expected to remain closed for the rest of today due to a brush fire at the airport perimeter.

Honoapiilani Highway is closed in both directions at Hoohui Road as first responders work to contain the brush fire.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE

Firefighters from the Maui Fire Department are on the scene of a brush fire this afternoon near Kahana Ridge on Maui.

The fire, which was first reported at 1:18 p.m. today, has suspended flight operations at the Kapalua Airport after nearby power lines were damaged, according to the State Department of Transportation. The fire has also reached the airport’s runway, according to Maui County officials.

Akahele Street, the main access road to the airport, is currently closed. Emergency crews have also started evacuating residents on Kaka’alaneo Drive and Ala Hoku Place in Kahana.

According to MFD, the fire is reported to have spread across approximately 3-4 acres and is spreading, due to dry conditions and steady winds in the area.

Three engine companies, one ladder company and a tanker are currently on scene; the department’s Air 1 helicopter is also involved in efforts to extinguish the blaze. A specialized “firing team” is also en route, MFD said.

Motorists are advised to avoid the area and utilize alternate routes.

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