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Brushfire burns seven acres near Lahainaluna High School

By Staff | May 21, 2015

LAHAINA – A brushfire first reported at 4:35 p.m. on Saturday consumed about seven acres of brush within an open field bordered by Princess Nahienaena Elementary School, Kahoma Stream and Lahainaluna High School and its softball field to the south.

No structures were damaged, but flames came within 50 feet of buildings at Princess Nahienaena Elementary School. Six Maui Electric Company utility poles were scorched. There were no injuries reported.

The county Department of Fire & Public Safety reported that the cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but it is believed to have started near the LHS property.

On Saturday afternoon, firefighters were dispatched to reports of a brushfire near Lahainaluna High School. Lahaina firefighters arrived at 4:53 p.m. and initially found about a half-acre of light brush burning near a lower section of LHS, which borders the Kahoma Stream gulch.

Firefighters were hampered by shifting winds and were unable to contain the fire. Winds suddenly changed direction and fanned the flames downslope, where the fire eventually stopped at a fence line and came within 50 feet of Princess Nahienaena Elementary School buildings.

Another change in wind direction pushed the fire back upslope, where it began moving into the Kahoma Stream gulch. Air 1 and ground crews were able to stop the fire before it got deep into the gulch.

Eight fire units from Lahaina, Napili, Kahului, Wailea and Wailuku, and the Fire Department’s Air 1 helicopter responded to the incident.

Firefighters had the perimeter 100 percent contained at 9:17 p.m. on Saturday night. Lahaina crews maintained fire watch overnight to watch for flare-ups.

Throughout Sunday morning, Lahaina firefighters were out walking the fire line and burned out area putting out hotspots.

Partially buried organic material, trash and abandoned vehicles made the fire especially difficult to extinguish, the department reported.