Maui News

Unscheduled Pūlehu Cane Fire 100% Contained

August 23, 2016, 6:40 AM HST
* Updated August 23, 6:50 AM
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Brush fire, 8.20.16. PC: Arne B. Kaiser

Brush fire, 8.20.16. PC: Arne B. Kaiser

An unscheduled cane fire that spread to Haleakalā Ranch lands on Sunday is now 100% contained, according to fire officials.

The fire started in Pūlehu on Friday, and consumed 300 acres of cane and brush on Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company land on Saturday, before advancing to Haleakalā Ranch where another 35 acres burned.

HC&S personnel were taking action to control areas that were still smoldering on their land; while the Maui Fire Department continued patrols of the mauka ranch lands.

Crews do not expect the fire to be declared officially extinguished for at least another week or so because of hundreds of large kiawe trees that continue to smolder within containment lines.

“There are literally hundreds of large kiawe trees still smoldering or burning within the containment lines so residents may notice some light smoke or an occasional tree flaring up, but crews are allowing that to happen,” said Maui Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto.

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According to Taomoto, the kiawe trunks range in size from 12 inches to as large as 2 feet in diameter, and are very difficult to extinguish.  “It’s not uncommon for crews to return back to the same tree a half a dozen times during the course of several days,” he said.

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An off-road water tanker from Lahaina and a 4-wheel-drive mini pumper from Wailuku were used to assist Kula firefighters on Monday.

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