The Maui Fire Department is reassuring the public that the unscheduled cane fire currently burning in the Pulehu-Puunene area is not an immediate threat to any structures or neighborhoods.
At last check late Saturday night, the fire was smoldering in a cane field about two to three miles to the northeast of Ohukai Road, in North Kihei.
The fire is not related to the three-acre brush fire that Maui fire crews responded to on Pulehu Road, near the Kula Agricultural Park, on Friday afternoon. That fire consumed about 50 acres. Saturday’s cane fire was a flare up of the same unscheduled cane fire that started around 5 p.m. Friday. It occurred a few hours after the brush fire on Pulehu Road, except that it was located about two miles to the west of the Pulehu Road brush fire.
Representatives from Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar confirmed that Saturday’s cane fire, located about a mile to the southwest of the Omaopio Rd and Pulehu Road junction, was not a scheduled burn. It is unclear what actually started that blaze.
So far, about 300 acres of sugar cane and pockets of brush between cane fields have been scorched.
Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar personnel are on the scene and have completed a firebreak completely around the fires. The large flames and bright orange glow that residents from Upcountry, Kihei and the Central Valley saw around 7:30 p.m. was the remaining cane that needed to burn up before reaching the firebreaks created this afternoon.
Another area that was visibly burning after sunset and was making Valley Isle residents nervous, was a patch of unburned brush situated in the middle of cane fields that were already charred earlier in the day. That fire was not a concern and was expected to burn itself out.
Maui firefighters left the scene around 8 p.m. HC&S remained at the fire scene throughout the night to make sure that any smoldering areas didn’t flare up and jump the containment lines.
Three helicopters and Maui fire crews from Makawao, Kula and Kahului assisted personnel from HC&S, Haleakala Ranch, and Goodfellow Bros. Construction in battling the cane fire that burned out of control Saturday afternoon.