Maui fire disrupts traffic again
MA'ALAEA, Maui — A flareup yesterday near Honoapi'ilani Highway briefly interrupted the flow of traffic again on the two-lane road, as firefighting efforts were winding down in the mountains above Ma'alaea.
A wildfire that started early Friday burned approximately 4,000 acres. The blaze was largely contained by Monday, but continues to burn in areas already blackened by fire, said Battalion Chief David Kamalani of the Maui Fire Department. State and county firefighters worked yesterday to keep the fire in check, and a single helicopter was deployed to continue water drops.
As the fire burned out of control Friday and through the weekend, some homes and businesses in Ma'alaea were evacuated and traffic in and out of West Maui was virtually cut off, stranding visitors trying to get to their hotels or Kahului Airport, and commuters trying to reach jobs or home. Despite the massive disruptions, no structures or anything else of value was lost in the fire.
The county is getting help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in covering some of its firefighting costs. The federal agency on Saturday approved a Fire Management Assistance Grant that will pay for equipment use, tools, materials and supplies, and mobilization and demobilization activities.
Kamalani said county officials are ringing up firefighting costs, and no estimates were available.