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Maui recycling facility fire prompts state smoke advisory

Hawaii Department of Health officials issued a smoke advisory Saturday afternoon because of a fire at the Hammerhead Metal Recycling facility in Puunene, Maui, that generated “dense smoke.”

The department’s Clean Air Branch is advising Maui residents and visitors, especially those with pre-existing respiratory conditions, to take precautions or leave the area until the fire is contained and the smoke dissipates.

According to the Maui Fire Department, multiple units responded to the fire at the Central Maui Baseyard along Maui Veteran’s Highway which was reported at 10:36 a.m. By the afternoon, the fire was contained to the piles of recycled materials where it originated.

Firefighters are “making slow but steady progress on the fire,” MFD officials said. Other units are stationed in the area in case the fire spreads to other facilities or the nearby brush, they said.

There were no road closures or evacuations, and no injuries have been reported.

Real-time air monitoring data can be viewed online, and more information on air monitoring data can be found on the Clean Air Branch website.

Health Department officials advise anyone affected to:

>> Avoid outdoor activities to prevent exposure to the smoke and ash and lessen health risks.

>> Stay inside and close all windows and doors. If using an air conditioner, set it to recirculate.

>> If you must leave the area, use the air conditioner in your vehicle and set it to recirculate.

>> Keep medications on hand, and take prescribed medication for respiratory illnesses as scheduled. If you experience any health problems, contact your doctor.

>> Do not smoke; drink lots of fluids.

>> Have family emergency plans prepared and heed county and state emergency management warnings.

Crisis counselors are available through Hawaii CARES at the 988 crisis line, which is available 24/7, or by calling or texting 988, 800-753-6879 or 808-832-3100, health officials said.

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