Wildfire on Maui forces 7 to evacuate
A 1,000-acre brush fire on Maui forced the evacuation yesterday of a family of six living in a remote valley and a resident of a Lahaina subdivision.
About 20 Maui firefighters, along with Department of Land and Natural Resources personnel, were still battling the brush fire last night. The blaze, which is burning DLNR Natural Area Reserve land, was first reported at 11:52 a.m.
The Kapu family living in Kauaula Valley on Maui was airlifted to safety.
"It was terrible to be in the helicopter and ride away from your dreams and all that you built," Ke'eaumoku Kapu said in a news release issued by Maui County.
Firebreaks were cut to protect another valley family, the Palakikos, who used stream water to protect their home, Maui officials said.
Mild wind conditions prevented the fire from heading makai and spreading into the Puamana subdivision mauka of Lahaina town, but one Puamana resident was evacuated, said Mahina Martin, spokeswoman for Maui County.
Martin said no subdivision homes burned as of 8:45 p.m., and the Kapu family's home could not be assessed due to nightfall.
Three helicopters and four engines were dispatched to the fire. Bulldozers and a loader were used to cut an access road into the former sugar cane fields, Martin said.
She said firefighters were keeping an eye on the winds. A wind advisory was up for Maui County yesterday and today, with 20 to 25 mph tradewinds, said Tim Craig, lead forecaster for the National Weather Service. Winds were expected to decrease this afternoon to 10 to 15 mph.
On the Big Island, wind also fanned the flames of two brush fires.
Big Island firefighters were still putting out remaining hot spots from Saturday's Waikoloa brush fire that burned 1,500 acres when another broke out yesterday along Saddle Road, west of the Pohakuloa Training Station.
About 50 acres of state-owned grasslands with pockets of vegetation and trees were consumed, officials said. The fire was expected to be contained last night. No structures or people were threatened by either fire.