When a community comes together during an emergency, the safety of firefighters and residents is vastly improved. Case and point, the efforts of community members during the 5,300 acre wildfire that threatened homes in Kahikinui, Maui, made suppression efforts much easier for first responders. The fire was an intense one, not only for residents in Kahikinui, but for those in Kihei, too. The smoke was thick as it smothered parts of Kihei, reported Pablo Beimler, who was in Kihei for HWMO work. Unfortunately, HWMO had to cancel a Firewise Community Hazard Assessment with Kula Hawaiian Homelands due to the wildfire, but thankfully no homes or lives were lost in what could have been a catastrophic fire.
"Before first responders were able to close the roads Monday evening, good Samaritans like Joe Santos sprung into action. "I took my truck and I blocked the road because I was trying to stop anybody from driving into the fire," said Santos, operations manager for Kaupo Ranch."
Shortly after, Maui firefighters were in full force fighting the blaze. Various public and private entities also helped supplying manpower and bulldozers.
The efforts helped save all the homes in the Kahikinui Homesteads.
'The fire got close to the homestead side, a little more on the Ulupalakua area, that's where it was really intense trying to save the houses. The trade winds were bringing the fire close to the homes and that's where the stress level got a little bit crazy,' said Santos.
Taomoto said the Maui Fire Department expresses its gratitude to everyone who helped and continues to help fight the fire."