Kahikinui Brush Fire Remains Active, 40% Contained
Fire crews remained on scene overnight to monitor a stubborn brush fire burning on the southern slopes of Haleakalā. The fire has burned an estimated 5300 acres since it was first reported at 5:40 p.m. Monday afternoon, a size estimate that was revised downward from earlier reports after more accurate GPS mapping was completed.
Fire officials say the blaze is still actively burning along the northern, mauka edge, where ground crews were utilizing bulldozers to cut a firebreak. Firefighters also walked the perimeter with hand tools to monitor and support fire operations.
Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said increased winds on Wednesday afternoon caused some relatively minor flareups.
Five private helicopters and one helicopter from the Hawaiʻi Air National Guard were used to conduct aerial water drops in an effort to keep the fire from spreading further upslope. Other assets on scene included eight bulldozers that were used to cut firebreaks, and six water tankers that were used in a constant rotation, shuttling water to keep portable water tanks filled for the air operation.
Fire officials say there are still areas on the north and east sides of the fire where bulldozers have not been able to cut any firebreaks. Those are the areas where crews will be concentrating their efforts today.
By Wednesday evening, it was estimated that around 40% of the fire area had been contained. FSC Taomoto said that estimate can change at any time since wind conditions today are still expected to be breezy.