130-Acre Kalamaula Fire Under Investigation
Firefighters battled brushfires in Kalamaula Sunday, with about 130 acres burned, according to officials. While fires blazed within 50 feet of homes, no damages or injuries were reported as of Sunday, though Dispatch staff witnessed damage to at least one 40-foot storage container. The fire was reported just after 1 p.m., and was declared contained, though not under control, by 6 p.m. Firefighters stayed to monitor the area throughout the night, according to Lee Mainaga, fire service chief on Maui.
Twenty-eight firefighters responded, including five from Lahaina. Two helicopters doused the blazes from above, while tankers worked on the ground. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, as of Sunday.
That was the second day of fires on the island. On Saturday, two smaller fires broke out in Ho`olehua. One was reported around 11:30 a.m., while the other started just after 3 p.m. Both fires were contained with about half an hour. The two fires were declared suspicious, according to Molokai Fire Inspector Rick Schonely. He added that police and fire officials are actively investigating the incidents and have some leads. He said no other information can be released yet.
“We’re still in dry season and we have to be very careful with any open burning,” said Schonely. He asked residents to practice fire safety and report any suspicious activity.
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for critical fire weather conditions for much of Maui County for Sunday and Monday. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and high temperatures triggered the alert.