Olowalu Brush Fire: 200 Acres Burned, 30 Homes Evacuated, 90% Contained
Update: 5:12 p.m. HST 8.31.18: (Information courtesy Maui Departmemt of Fire and Public Safety)
At approximately 10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 31, Maui fire crews responded to reports of a brush fire in the Olowalu area.
Upon arrival, crews found an active brush fire behind a Paintball Field north of Olowalu Store.
The fire quickly spread up the hillside, and through dry brush and kiawe.
At one point the fire threatened some farm structures located on the Lahaina side of the burn area. Firefighters were able to protect those structures as the fire approached.
Maui police and fire personnel worked to evacuate those threatened in the area, which included a subdivision on Luawai Road. Approximately 50 people were evacuated from an estimated 30 homes in the area.
A shelter was established for evacuees in central Maui. As of 3:30 p.m., all evacuees were allowed back to their homes. Luawai Road was also reopened at that time.
Throughout the day, 40 firefighters battled the blaze and as of this release it is considered 90% contained.
Firefighters are also being assisted by 3 helicopters which were able to make water drops, as well as tankers and equipment from West Maui Land Co, Hawaiian Dredging, and PB Sullivan. Crews are currently dousing hot spots and will be monitoring this fire throughout the night to ensure the perimeter is secure.
It is estimated that 200 acres have burned, and there are no reported damages caused by this fire. There are also no injuries to report. The cause of this fire has not been determined.
Update: 2:38 p.m. HST 8.31.18: The Olowalu brush fire is now 70% contained.
Update: 2 p.m. HST 8.31.18: The Olowalu fire has now consumed an estimated 100 acres. An estimated 50 individuals were evacuated from 30 homes in the area at last report. The fire had damaged greenhouses and some farm land, but there were no homes affected as of 2 p.m. A shelter is available at the Kahului Community Center Annex for those who have been evacuated. Luawai Road is closed to traffic at this time but Honoapiʻilani Highway is open. The fire was first reported at around 10 a.m. in the brush area mauka of the Olowalu paintball fields.
Update: 1:30 p.m. HST 8.31.18: As of 1:30 p.m., Kahului Community Center Annex will be open as an emergency shelter for people evacuating as a result of the Olowalu fire. The shelter will be operated by the American Red Cross.
Update: 11:45 a.m. HST 8.31.18: As of 11:45 a.m., Police say the Honoapiʻilani Highway remains OPEN, however there are some delays because of rubbernecking. Drive safe.
Update: 11:02 a.m. HST 8.31.18 Maui Fire Department crews are currently on scene of an active brush fire in the Olowalu area. Currently eight MFD companies, three MFD tankers, Air 1 and Air 2 are on scene battling the fire. Maui police are also on scene working to evacuate residents. This is a developing incident and more information will be provided as it becomes available.
The Maui Emergency Management Agency advises the public that if residents of the area believe that they are in danger or unsafe, they should leave. Evacuation centers are currently being established. Details will be provided as they become available.
Previous post: Maui firefighters are responding to a brush fire reported in Olowalu in the mauka terrain. The fire was reported at around 10 a.m. HST, 8.31.18. Traffic along the Honoapiʻilani Highway was not impacted at last report.
Maui Electric Company had de-energized lines in the area as of 10:53 a.m. Some initial evacuations were underway at last report.
*Details are forthcoming and will be posted as they become available.