Brush Fire and Ocean Rescue

By Catherine Cluett Pactol

A brush fire and water rescue took place simultaneously on Molokai last week Monday, Oct. 5.

An overheated vehicle is believed to have started the Mo’omomi brush fire that burned 10 acres. Firefighters got the call at 2 p.m. and had the fire contained by about 3 p.m. using two engines and a tanker. It was fully extinguished around 5 p.m. Though no one was injured and no buildings damaged, the Fire Dept. reported the blaze came within 50 feet of a residence.

At 2:15 p.m. the same day, the Fire Dept. also got called for an ocean rescue for two people offshore near Kaunakakai Harbor.

“Engine 12 got on scene and located the two overturned kayaks approximately a quarter mile offshore,” reported Rylan Yatsushiro, Maui County Fire Services Chief. “The incident was reported by a tugboat captain of the Hokuloa. Coast Guard was notified and a Coast Guard helicopter arrived on scene as well. Because of a confirmed brush fire occurring at the same time, two emergency callback personnel were dispatched to launch an MFD Rescue Ski.”

With the Coast Guard guiding the Fire Department’s rescue ski to the scene, the man and woman were safely taken ashore. The man was a Molokai residents and the woman was reported to be from California, both in their 50s. Neither had injuries from the incident. Surf was reported flat to two feet, with easterly winds at 10 to 15 miles per hour.

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