The Kahikinui brushfire on Mt. Haleakala’s south slope has flared up again yesterday afternoon.
At 3:00 p.m., emergency dispatchers received a call from a Kahikinui Homestead resident saying the brush fire had flared up. The fire department’s helicopter responded along with Kula firefighters. When Air 1 arrived at 3:54 p.m., around 3 to 4 acres were burning near the mauka perimeter. The closest home is still about 1.5 miles away so no structures are being threatened at this time.
In addition to Air 1, two additional choppers from Pacific Helicopter Tours were contracted to assist with water drops until darkness forced their return to Kahului Airport. When the aircraft left the scene, there was still active fire burning, but it was only creeping slowly upslope.
At 6:30 p.m. the flare-up was estimated to be at 7 to 10 acres and moving uphill into the denser forested areas. Winds were relatively light and blowing out of the south.
A crew of 5 firefighters will be standing watch overnight to keep tabs on where the fire is headed. State Division of Forestry and Wildlife personnel and helicopters will be out again at first light tomorrow morning to resume firefighting operations.
Piilani Highway will be open to all traffic but motorists are advised that the road may close momentarily at any time for helicopter operations on or near the highway. Please check the Facebook pages for the County of Maui, and also Maui Police Department for up-to-date road closure notices.