Olowalu brush fire threatens homes
OLOWALU – A fire first reported on Friday morning burned more than 1,300 acres of brush in the Olowalu-Ukumehame area.
The blaze is not connected to flare-ups from a brush fire that began on Saturday, July 2, at Maalaea and spread across the Pali to Ukumehame.
The brush fire was reported at 7:15 a.m. on Friday and started in an open field north of Ehehene Street. The cause has not been determined and is still being investigated.
No structures were damaged, but a homeowner’s backhoe was destroyed as the fire burned past the property Friday afternoon. Damage was estimated at $20,000.
Three homes/families were evacuated Friday during the height of the blaze. They were allowed to return Saturday night.
Crews used bulldozers to cut firebreaks and create control lines to prevent flames from spreading later.
Ground crews hit hot spots along the perimeter to strengthen those control lines, while the fire department helicopter and two other contracted helicopters made water drops where needed.
Winds in the area were 20-30 mph, gusting to 40 mph at times, with hot temperatures and dry, humid conditions.
About 55 personnel worked to contain the fire on Saturday, including around 30 Maui Fire Department firefighters, 13 state Division of Forestry & Wildlife firefighters, and about 12 personnel from Goodfellow Brothers Construction, West Maui Land Co. and Maui County Public Works.
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