Maui (Upcountry)

Fire Near Keanuhea Street and Kula Highway Extinguished

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From the Source:

Maui firefighters were called to reports of a fire at 8:50 a.m. Tuesday which was  located in the brush area between Keanuhea Street and Kula Highway.

Firefighters from Makawao and Kahului responded.

Once on scene, crews found what appeared to by a makeshift campsite completely burned.

Air 1 was called to assist with water drops because of the remote location which was very difficult to access with firefighting vehicles. The fire was quickly contained and later declared extinguished around noon. 

Restoration of Forest Key to Fire Control, Expert Says

Dr. Trauernicht gives background on the wildfire issue in Maui and across the state. Credit: The Maui News

Dr. Trauernicht gives background on the wildfire issue in Maui and across the state. Credit: The Maui News

Great article on the wildfire issue in Hawaii based on a recent talk by our close partner, Dr. Clay Trauernicht of University of Hawaii CTAHR Cooperative Extension / Pacific Fire Exchange. Also, important identification of the need for more funding for forest restoration and fire prevention by another close partner of ours, Chris Brosius, program manager of the West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership.

From the Source:

The causes of most fires are unknown. Out of 12,000 recorded incidents statewide from 2000 to 2011, only 882, or about 7 percent, had a determined cause. Of those, 72 percent were accidental, which also means they’re preventable, Trauernicht said at Wednesday’s meeting in the Pacific Whale Foundation’s classrooms in Maalaea. That’s why part of the solution is public education on the risks of fire and how to avoid sparking a fire.

That’s why it’s important to find ways to change the landscape to less sensitive and less flammable vegetation, he said. Statewide, non-native grasses and shrubland cover 25 percent of the total land; in Maui County, it’s 36 percent.

“Rather than trying to weed wack or spray to kill the grass, maybe you should think about a more permanent strategy, like planting trees to shade those grasses out,” Trauernicht said. “In other words, converting that vegetation to something that’s less likely to burn.”

“We can really only do two things,” Trauernicht explained. “We can target ignitions . . . and the only thing we have direct control over is the vegetation.”

“A lot of people think about jumping right into fuels management,” he said. “One of the big things is just having access and safer conditions and water for firefighters. So I think some of the more immediate things is ensuring they have the safest conditions.”

Maui Brush Fire Scorches 10 acres at Kula Agricultural Park

"Maui firefighters are battling a brush fire in Kula Agriculture Park on Sunday." Credit: Maui Fire Department

"Maui firefighters are battling a brush fire in Kula Agriculture Park on Sunday." Credit: Maui Fire Department

From the Source:

Maui fire officials say that a brush fire on Sunday has scorched 10 acres of land in the area of Pulehu Road near Kula Agriculture Park.

MFD crews responded to the fire at around 2:15 p.m. and arrived to find an active fire in dry brush in the area. Firefighters are having difficulty putting out the fires due to shifting winds, according to officials.

2,500 Acres Burned, Winds Fuel Fast Moving Pukalani Fire

Mahalo to the firefighters who have worked tirelessly to put the large Pukalani fire out. July 4th (and New Years) are the busiest times of the year for brushfires -- help do your part by preventing wildfires to make the jobs of our firefighters easier and keep them out of harm's way.

From the Source:

A total of 2,500 acres of fallow sugar cane and brush had burned as of 7 p.m. The brush fire was initially reported at 2:30 p.m. and remains active, but crews have made “significant progress,” according to an update by Maui Fire Services Chief Rylan Yatsushiro.

At 3:55 a.m. on Wednesday July 4, 2018, a separate brush fire was reported near the Kūihelani Highway and Honoapiʻilani Highway near Māʻalaea. Fire officials say crews from Wailuku, Kīhei, Wailea and Lahaina were able to control an approximately 3-4 acre brush fire from spreading.

Credit: Augustine Colebrook

Credit: Augustine Colebrook

Credit: Robin Pilus

Credit: Robin Pilus

Vehicle Accident Sparks Brushfire in Pulehu, Maui

Satellite image of a section of Pulehu Road on Maui.

Satellite image of a section of Pulehu Road on Maui.

Roadside ignitions are a common way fires are started in Hawaii. Be careful on the roads and make sure to park only in paved or mowed areas. We are glad to hear that there were no injuries from this incident.

From the Source:

Maui firefighters have nearly contained a four-acre brush fire sparked by a vehicle accident in Pulehu this afternoon.

A two-car collision on Pulehu Road appears to have started the fire, the Maui Fire Department said in a news release.

Brush Fire Comes Within 20 Feet of Homes in Pukalani

"The Fire Department’s Air One helicopter helps battle a fire in a Pukalani gulch Tuesday afternoon." Credit: Maui Fire Department

"The Fire Department’s Air One helicopter helps battle a fire in a Pukalani gulch Tuesday afternoon." Credit: Maui Fire Department

From the Source:

A brush fire in Pukalani came within 20 feet of homes before firefighters were able to contain and douse the blaze Tuesday [June 26] afternoon, according to fire officials.

When firefighters arrived on scene, they found a half-acre of brush burning on the north slope of the gulch and coming within 20 feet of homes on Aina Lani Drive, he said.

6,342 Invasive Pines Removed at Haleakalā, Volunteers Sought

"Volunteers remove invasive plants at summit of Haleakalā." Credit: Haleakalā NP.

"Volunteers remove invasive plants at summit of Haleakalā." Credit: Haleakalā NP.

Aloha friends visiting or living in Maui, here is a great way to care for the ʻāina with our friends from the National Park Service and the Pacific Whale Foundation, while also reducing the wildfire risk in Haleakalā. 

From the Source:

The next Waele ma Haleakalā will occur this Saturday, April 7, 2018. Since April of last year, Waele ma Haleakalā volunteers have pulled 6,342 invasive pines and almost 2,500 invasive plants.

Volunteers will physically remove young pine trees and other small invasive plants from the Summit District. Transportation, training, hand tools, gloves, and other equipment will be provided. Please sign up by 7:30 a.m. on Friday, April 6, 2018, by contacting the Pacific Whale Foundation at (808) 249-8811. Space is limited to 11 volunteers.

58 Acres Scorched in Paʻia and Haʻiku Brush Fires

Photo Credit: Anna Kim / Maui Now

Photo Credit: Anna Kim / Maui Now

With very strong trade winds blowing and continuing dry conditions, be on the Wildfire Lookout! and evacuate early. Six homes were evacuated on the makai side of Hana Highway on Maui for a fire that came to within five feet of the homes. 

"Forty-two minutes after the Pāʻia fire was extinguished, crews responded to reports of a brush fire makai-side of Hāna Highway at the Ha‘ikū Road intersection at 6:32 p.m. When Pāʻia crews arrived 10 minutes later, a half acre of land was already scorched.

'Crews had just left the scene of the Pāʻia fire and didn’t even make it back to the station when they responded to the second fire,' Chief Taomoto said."

'When you’re in an open field with nothing going on, you start eliminating the potential igniting sources—structures and power lines, human habitation—and you come up with nothing, so there is the potential human cause and someone fled the scene,' he said.

Chief Taomoto said if the conditions are right and multiple factors line-up perfectly something as simple as a cigarette thrown out of a window could start some of the roadside fires. However, he said it’s suspicious when there are multiple fires within a small area, he used the three small grass fires off the Pali last month as an example."

Crews Respond to Flare Up of Fire West of Omaopio and Pulehu Road

Area where fire occurred - west of Omaopio and Pulehu Road junction.

Area where fire occurred - west of Omaopio and Pulehu Road junction.

From the Source:

"A series of brush fires that kept firefighters busy last week rekindled Sunday night, forcing crews to return to the area west of the Omaopio and Pulehu road junction, fire officials said.

The flare-up at about 8:30 p.m. occurred inside the perimeter of one of three fires, about a half-mile to a mile apart, that began Oct. 9, Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto said."

"Although the fire was declared 100 percent contained Thursday afternoon and has not spread beyond firebreaks carved out by bulldozers, large areas of unburned fuel remain inside containment lines, Taomoto said. That is where flare-ups have been occurring.

In addition, difficult-to-reach areas with large kiawe trees and heavy brush on the mauka edges were making it challenging for firefighters to fully extinguish the fires, Taomoto said."

Haleakala Highway Cane Fire Consumes 100 Acres of Fallow Land

"Football fans at War Memorial Stadium watch a game Thursday night while a brush fire lights up Central Maui and blackens former sugar cane fields. The blaze was fully contained at 2:03 a.m. Friday. It consumed about 100 acres. A cause had not been determined as of Friday night. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo"

"Football fans at War Memorial Stadium watch a game Thursday night while a brush fire lights up Central Maui and blackens former sugar cane fields. The blaze was fully contained at 2:03 a.m. Friday. It consumed about 100 acres. A cause had not been determined as of Friday night. -- The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo"

With more and more lands going fallow, fire will continue to be on the rise in places like Central Maui where acres upon acres of cane are no longer being managed. Creative land management solutions that reduce wildfire risk will need to continue to be part of the discussion as we move forward. Thank you to Maui firefighters for keeping this fire at bay!

From the Source:

"Passing motorists alerted firefighters at 3:56 p.m. Thursday to the fire that started on the south grassy shoulder of Haleakala Highway in the vicinity of North Firebreak Road, he said. Kahului firefighters were on the scene at 4:04 p.m., and by then it had grown to 2 to 3 acres and could not be contained.

Gusty trade winds fanned the fire, spreading it quickly into a fallow cane field, Taomoto said."

Haleakala Highway and South Point Fires Burn on Maui and Big Island

Be on the alert - with drought conditions and strong winds, fires can become out of control or change direction quickly and can threaten homes, roadways, or other critical areas. Take precaution and stay tuned to local radio stations and county alerts. And remember to evacuate early should the fire become a threat to your neighborhood.

From the Source:

"On Maui, fighters are battling a fire along Haleakala Highway on the ground and by air. The fire was reported just before 4 p.m., and has since scorched 80 to 100 acres of old sugar cane crop."

Haleakala Highway Fire - September 21, 2017. Credit: Asa Ellison / Hawaii News Now

Haleakala Highway Fire - September 21, 2017. Credit: Asa Ellison / Hawaii News Now

Kaalualu Fire - September 21, 2017. Credit: Kane Thomas

Kaalualu Fire - September 21, 2017. Credit: Kane Thomas

"On Hawaii Island, a large brush fire near South Point in Ka'u has forced crews to issue a warning to residents.

They say the smoke could make it hard to see and make it harder to breathe near Waiohinu. Residents are being asked to stay out of the area.

Emergency responders say the fire broke out about 4 hours ago in Kaalualu. 

Fire crews can't expect much help from the weather in battling the flames either.

Winds are running at brisk speeds throughout the state making it difficult for firefighters to extinguish both fires. Rain is also scarce in those areas, and fire crews will remain on scene." 

Maui Brush Fires Along Airport Access Road and Road to "Jaws"

Maui firefighters were kept busy on Sunday with a 3-acre fire along the road to the famous "Jaws" surf break in Peahi and a 300-foot-long strip near Panda Express and Walmart in Kahului. The return of the prevailing trade winds helped fuel the fires, but thanks to our firefighters, they were put out relatively quickly. Fair warning though, when the winds are blowing and the grass and brush is as dry as it is right now, it's a recipe for wildfires.

From the Source:

General location of fire in Peahi. Google Maps

General location of fire in Peahi. Google Maps

General location of fire near Airport Access Road. Google Maps

General location of fire near Airport Access Road. Google Maps

“'It was windy, so it was probably spreading pretty fast by the time they got there,' Taomoto said.

The crew had the fire contained by 2:46 p.m. and extinguished by 2:53 p.m. In total, the fire burned an area about 10 feet wide and 300 feet long.

The fire did not damage any properties or cause any injuries, though crews had to wake up an older male who was sleeping under a tree about 6 feet away from the fire, according to Taomoto."

Burnt Vehicle Found Near Center of Paia Fire

Screenshot of Maui Now YouTube video.

Screenshot of Maui Now YouTube video.

From the Source:

Firefighters responded to a brush fire in a fallow sugar cane field about a half-mile south of Baldwin Avenue, near the old Pāʻia Sugar Mill on Wednesday night.

A burnt vehicle was found near the center of the scorched brush, but fire officials say it’s unclear whether the vehicle was involved in the starting of the fire.

Paia Brush Fire Considered Suspicious, Homes Threatened

"Neighbors reported seeing kids running from the open field just before the fire broke out. The fire was stopped about 10-feet short of the home on Ulumau Place in Pāʻia. PC: 7.9.17 Maui Fire Department."

"Neighbors reported seeing kids running from the open field just before the fire broke out. The fire was stopped about 10-feet short of the home on Ulumau Place in Pāʻia. PC: 7.9.17 Maui Fire Department."

Mahalo Maui firefighters for protecting homes from the fire. It is peak fire season. Be prepared by being on the Wildfire Lookout!

From the Source:

"A total of two acres were scorched in Sunday’s fire. No structures were damaged and no injuries were reported.

Fire officials say a total of about six homes were threatened on Ulumau Place. Some residents on Ulumau Place and Maoli Place were evacuated briefly, but were let back into their homes after fire crews got the fire knocked down soon after.

Maui Fire services Chief Edward Taomoto said the cause of the fire was undetermined but is considered suspicious. Neighbors reported seeing children running from the open field just before the fire broke out."

Advancing FAC in Hawaii: Increasing Awareness, Thinking Both Short and Long Term and...Goats?

Click to Read the Blog Post

Click to Read the Blog Post

In 2015, we began working with several communities statewide on grassroots-level community wildfire protection efforts, primarily through Firewise’s communities recognition program. Only a few years later, we’re happy to say that our communities are seeing some great success! Find out how HWMO and its partners are working with communities to advance Fire Adapted Community goals in the latest highlight on the FAC Learning Network blog.

From the Source:

"These recommendations have already encouraged Firewise committees to start thinking outside of the box. For example, two years ago, Waikoloa Village received a fuels reduction grant from the USDA Forest Service. The village used the funds to hire a goat-grazing contractor to reduce flammable vegetation on vacant lots. As phase two of the project, the community will be installing permanent fence posts to allow for more regular grazing. Eventually, they may transform these lots into a multi-use area where goats continue to graze and the community also grows citrus trees.

These communities are also engaging residents through outreach. A few months ago, the Launiupoko Firewise committee sent over 300 copies of ReadySetGo! Wildland Fire Action Guides to residents. This spring, they will be hiring a contractor to remove flammable vegetation along an established bike path. Kahikinui, a small homestead in one of the most remote areas on Maui, worked tirelessly last year to engage neighboring large landowners and various agencies in their Firewise efforts. Their persistence and creativity led to a collaborative fuels mitigation project that received funding from the Department of Hawaiian Homelands and a local wind farm."

Grass Fire Fanned by Kona Winds Burns Half Acre in Kula

As of 2016, Waiohuli homesteads in Kula is a nationally-recognized Firewise Community. Wildfires are a growing threat to Kula communities, whether the northeast or Kona trade winds are blowing. Join Waiohuli by taking action as a neighborhood and working towards becoming a Firewise Community!

From the Source:

"A brush fire in Kula burned about a half-acre of grass on Sunday before it was brought under control.

Upcountry firefighters responded to the incident reported off of Koheo Road in Kula at 11:35 a.m. on Sunday Feb. 5, 2017.

Kula firefighters arrived at 11:51 a.m. to find a half-acre of grass on fire. Air 1 was called out to make water drops because of strong Kona winds fanning the fire."

Maui Firefighters Extinguish Kula Agricultural Park Brush Fire

Credit: Asa Ellison/Special to KHON2

HWMO is in the final stages of completing the Upcountry Maui Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), which will be up on our website soon. More and more wildfires are threatening Upcountry Maui, as witnessed with the latest brush fire that burned around 3 acres off of Pulehu Road below the Kula Agricultural Park. HWMO will be working with Waiohuli Hikina residents in Kula to help them become a Firewise Community this Fall, in preparation of the increase in wildfire activity in the area. 

From the Source: 

"It started at around 3:22 p.m. off Pulehu Road, below Kula Agricultural Park.

Fire officials say it burned two acres north of the road, and one acre to the south of it."

Rash of Vehicle Fires Keep Maui Crews Busy

Photo Credit: Wendy Osher/Maui Now

Abandoned vehicles are major fire hazards, especially along or within dry grass and brush. Just ask Maui firefighters who are working tirelessly to fight a number of abandoned car fires that seem to be growing on the island. Report any suspicious activity to the police. Mahalo!

From the Source:

At 3:45 a.m. Tuesday, two simultaneous but separate vehicle fires were reported on East Waikō Road in Waikapū. One was roughly 400 yards west of the Waiʻale Road intersection, and the other was about 300 yards east of the intersection.

At 3:52 a.m., the Wailuku crew found a truck on the shoulder of Waikō Road west of the Waiʻale Road intersection fully engulfed by fire, which was now spreading into the brush.

Firefighters quickly brought the fire under control, but not before it burned a 50 x 200 foot area of brush downwind and caused roughly $3,000 in damages to a nearby fence. The brush and vehicle fires were called extinguished at 4:34 a.m.

A fire investigator determined that that fire was intentionally set and originated in the bed of the truck, where a pile of car tires were believed to have been discarded. The Kahului engine and water tanker assisted the Wailuku crew after they extinguished the vehicle fire further down the street.

Brush Fire in Makawao Scorches 200 Acres of Land

Credit: Maui Fire Department

Glad to hear all are safe after a very close call with a wildfire in Makawao on Thursday. There are a number of ways to ensure your home is better protected from wildfires. Visit the Wildfire & Drought Look Out! page for details.

From the Source:

"Maui firefighters are concluding operations on a brush fire on Thursday in a gulch near the Kamehameha Schools' Maui campus that officials say has burned about 200 acres."

"Strong winds of up to 25 mile an hour spread the flames quickly but officials say the pineapples and sugar cane fields have helped to slow the fire.

Officials say the fire came within 30 feet of homes within the area, and that evacuations were ordered for a short time. Residents have been returned to their homes."

Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization Supports Formation of Firewise Communities in Hawaii

"According to the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, about 0.5% of Hawaii’s total land area burns annually, as much or more than the proportion of land are burned in any other US state. In Hawaii, 98% of wildfires are human caused."

We are extremely grateful to be a part of the Firewise Communities program and were highlighted for our efforts in January's National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Fire Break newsletter!

From the Source:

"Wildfire in Hawaii, like anywhere else, threatens the safety of firefighters, residents andhomes. It also causes damage to the air quality, which impacts human health, and contributes to soil erosion problems that can cause damage to sensitive coral reefs. One of the partners in Hawaii working to help lessen the loss due to wildfire in Hawaii is the Hawaiian Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO). They are a small nonprofit organization that has been working together with fire departments, the Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife, communities and others to help develop Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) and Firewise Communities. The HWMO was officially founded in 2000 by a group of South Kohala/North Kona regional experts who wanted to create a non-profit organization to serve as an arm for the fire suppression and land management agencies to conduct prevention, pre-suppression, and post-fire work. They became incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2002. Since then, they have grown to not only address wildfire issues for all of Hawaii Island, but also the entire state and some of the Western Pacific (namely Yap, Palau, Guam).

According to Pablo Beimler, Coordinator with HWMO, "'Although we have a small staff, HWMO is continually able to accomplish a number of projects due to its extensive partnerships. We can't say it enough: by staying in communication with our partners on each project, and expanding partnerships where needed, they are able to ensure our projects stay grounded and effective.'"

"Pablo described other wildfire preparedness projects in which HWMO is involved. "We have a Firewise demonstration garden in Waikoloa Village, where we have a number of native, drought-tolerant plants growing strategically around a demo home to give community members an example of good defensible space practices. Our team has held a number of community events at the garden and have had a youth environmental empowerment group called the Malama Kai Ocean Warriors help be the ‘stewards’ of the garden. In terms of other youth outreach, we also go to numerous schools and youth programs to teach students about wildfire prevention and preparedness, including Firewise and Ready, Set, Go! principles. We also hold community wildfire preparedness workshops for various organizations/groups or for the general public where we give people a run-down on Firewise and Ready, Set, Go!."