On Thursday, February 2, 2017, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., the Maui Fire Department will be conducting a series of field burns in a wildland firefighting training exercise in Puunene. Department trainers will be burning up to 15 acres of brush on former Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. land off of Spanish Road, located about 4.5 miles east of the old HC&S sugar mill.
Motorists traveling along Mokulele Highway and Pulehu Road will have a clear view of the training fire so the public should not be alarmed when they notice an unexpected smoke column and fire in the general vicinity. The training location is approximately 3 miles east of the Hawaii Army National Guard Armory off of Mokulele Highway, and about a mile west of the Pulehu Road and Omaopio Road junction.
MFD is using the opportunity to train firefighter recruits of the 32nd Recruit Class, who will be graduating in March. Trainers will be teaching recruits the strategy and tactics of fighting wildland fires, as well as the skills to recognize watchout situations and fire conditions that can turn quickly against them.
Recruits will be able to connect the lessons learned in the classroom to real live fire exercises that will better prepare them as newly minted firefighters coming online in the upcoming summer fire season. The goal is to have them understand the situations that have killed many wildland firefighters across the nation and appreciate their sacrifice and the safety measures that were born of those tragedies.