KaluaKoi Inferno Threatens West Molokai
Blustery winds didn¹t help firefighters as they battled a stubborn blaze all afternoon on Monday. The brush fire started as workers were taking down the radio towers along KaluaKoi Rd. Early reports suggest the flames were caused by heavy equipment, used to disassemble the metal struts of the towers, which accidentally ignited dense grass in the area, though Maui County Police have yet to complete an official investigation as to the cause of the blaze.
Quick work by Molokai¹s fire department, as well as two Maui County Fire Department helicopters whose skilled pilots swooped up water from area swimming pools to put out some of the larger hot spots- quelled the blaze just before 5pm. Local residents and Ranch workers reported the fire quickly, and their quick response guaranteed the fire was contained before endangering any structures or causing any human injury.
Because of the dry terrain and ever changing winds- not to mention a lack of paved roads- fires can be extremely hazardous on west Molokai. Within its current decade-long drought, two other major fires have occurred; a 100-acre brush fire in 1999 saw three homes evacuated in Hoolehua, and a catastrophic 12,000 acre blaze came within 200 feet of Molokai General Hospital above Kaunakakai in 1998.