Pulehu Brush Fire Flares Up Sunday Night

PC: Matthew Vincent / MAUIWatch

At around 8:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 16, 2017, fire crews were called back to the Pulehu brush fire after a flare up rekindled inside the perimeter to one of the three previous fires that first began on Monday, Oct. 9.

Two engine crews and water tankers from Kahului and Wailea worked to contain a sizeable flare up near the mauka perimeter of the fires that started last week. Firefighters were able to stop the fire’s spread early Monday morning after it consumed around 40 additional acres of brush and fallow sugar cane about a mile west of the Omaopio Rd. and Pulehu Rd. junction.

Sunday nights flare up brings the total area burned to around 140 acres.

Although the fire is still 100 percent contained and has not spread beyond firebreaks made by bulldozers on the downwind edges, large areas of unburned fuels still remain inside containment lines and are where flare ups have been occurring. Difficult to reach areas with large kiawe trees and heavy brush on the mauka edges are making it challenging for firefighters to get a handle of and fully extinguish.

Since mid-morning Monday, an engine crew, a hazmat crew and water tankers from Kula, Kahului, and Wailea have been mopping up at the fire scene. The department’s Air-1 helicopter has been assisting crews with water drops on stubborn areas and flare ups throughout the day.

The Pulehu brush fire was declared 100 percent contained at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, however, it was never called extinguished because of a number of areas still smoldering within its borders.

Firefighters anticipate being on the scene until late Monday night and will patrol the areas overnight. With the winds forecasted to become gusty in the coming days, crews are likely to continue mop up operations through the end of the week.

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