video: Firefighters in Kalamaula, Aug. 31

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Molokai fire, now in its third day, burns an estimated 7,200 acres

Press Release from County of Maui Mayor’s Office

Kaunakakai, Molokai – A fire first reported shortly after 12 noon on
Saturday, August 29, has entered its 3rd day.

40-plus County firefighters are joined by 28 wildland firefighters from
the State’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife to battle a fire that
has so far burned an estimated 7,200 acres. Four helicopters returned
this morning to assist firefighters with aerial water drops.

Fire officials report that the fire is burning in a westerly direction
and fire crews are dealing with gulches throughout the terrain.
Bulldozer activity remains heavy as equipment operators place fire break
lines to help prevent the fire from advancing.

Last night, an abandoned structure near Kalamaula was completely burned
as firefighters fought to save the home adjacent to the abandoned
building. The home was not damaged. A pig farm near Kalamaula was also
threatened by the fire but did not sustain damage and the livestock were
unharmed.

The County’s Cooke Memorial Swimming Pool is closed today while it is
being used as a water source for the helicopters.

A portion of the Maunaloa Highway was closed last night as fire crews
and equipment traveled through the area to keep the fire from
advancing.

Red Cross opened an emergency shelter at the Mitchell Pauole Community
Center yesterday to accommodate anyone displaced.

Aside from one firefighter who was treated for smoke inhalation on
Saturday, no injuries are reported.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

Schools on Molokai closed because of fire hazard

Schools buses, cars could not reach all schools; Kilohana and Maunaloa still open

The Department of Education has announced the closure of these Molokai schools today: Molokai High School, Middle School, Kualapu’u Elementary and Kaunakakai Elementary. Kilohana Elementary and Maunaloa Elementary remain open.

Reports that the fire has jumped sections of Kamehameha V Highway in the area of the Molokai Landfill led to the decision to close schools. The fire department has closed sections of the highway. Parked cars and trucks could be seen along the eastbound lane of the highway as families watched the flames above Kalamaula. Along church row, people were spraying down their chapels.

Residents of Kalamaula mauka on Molokai evacuated

Press Release by Office of the Mayor County of Maui

Kaunakakai, Molokai – A change in wind conditions has caused the brush fire on Molokai to switch from a mauka direction to makai. In response, Maui Police ordered residents in the Kalamaula Mauka area to evacuate. Police officers conducted door-to-door notifications to the approximately 25 residents in the area. Red Cross will be operating an emergency shelter at the Mitchell Pauole Community Center in Kaunakakai for displaced residents.

The brush fire that was first reported at 12:05 pm yesterday afternoon has now burned an estimated 6,000 acres and is continuing to move mauka. Firefighters are currently concentrating on the eastern flank of the fire after earlier efforts by firefighters and helicopters to curtail the western section of the fire caused some tapering at the western flank. No other significant changes have occurred.

Firefighters work through night to protect Kaunakakai residents

Press Release Office of the Mayor County of Maui

Kaunakakai, Molokai – A brush fire that was first reported at 12:05
yesterday, August 29, has burned an estimated 5,000 acres north of
Kaunakakai town. The fire that initially burned mauka began to head
towards Kaunakakai town early this morning, coming as close as across
the street to Hotel Molokai.

One residence sustained damage to its garage and at approximately 2:00
am voluntary evacuations were advised. The brush fire approached a
residential area of approximately 100 homes as the wind direction
shifted throughout the night and early morning hours. Over 30
firefighters were on scene throughout the night battling over 17
different finger extensions of the brush fire.

At sunlight, four helicopters returned to conduct water drops after
ceasing at nightfall Saturday due to safety precautions. Cooke Memorial
Pool in Kaunakakai is closed today while the pool is utilized by the
helicopters as a water source. Yesterday afternoon crews from Maui’s
Napili and Wailuku fire stations were dispatched to assist Molokai
firefighters. Molokai’s three fire stations are located in Kaunakakai,
Hoolehua and Pukoo.

The State Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of
Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) has dispatched 23 of its wildland
firefighters who will be flown to Molokai today.

One firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation at Molokai General
Hospital yesterday and remains in stable condition. No other injuries
are reported.

5 bulldozers, 2 loaders, and 3 water tankers are on scene from the
County’s Department of Public Works, State agencies and private
companies.

Fire officials report that no homes are in immediate danger at this
time. The cause of the fire is unknown. Residents are advised to keep
the roadways in the area clear to allow for travel by personnel, heavy
equipment and fire engines.

Stand for Water holding sign-waving rallies at 12 locations across Molokai

In preparation for next Thursday’s Hawaii Public Utilities Commission public hearing on Molokai to review water rates, a group called Stand for Water is holding a rally Saturday at 12 different points around Molokai.

As a result of Molokai Properties Limited’s corporate veil being pierced by a recent high court ruling, the company, which has done business as Molokai Ranch for years, is legally responsible for its water utilities Molokai Public Utilities and Wai`ola O Molokai. MPL submitted an application on June 29 requesting a water rate increase, along with the audited financial statements that have not been seen by the PUC or Maui County Department of Water Supply (both of which have been requesting them since Molokai Ranch shut down in April of 2008) until now.

A temporary rate increase of $6.04 per unit was approved by the PUC in August of last year. Now MPL is asking for a proposed rate of almost $8 per unit with a phase 2 increase requested as well. Wai`ola O Molokai received a temporary rate of $5.15 with a proposed rate of $6.65 with a possible increase to $8.97.

The PUC public hearing will be at the Mitchell Pau’ole Center Thursday, Sept. 3, at 5 p.m.

Sign holding locations include Maunaloa, Kaluakoi Road, Hoolehua, Kualapuu, Kalae, Kalamaula, Manila Camp, Ranch Camp, across from the Molokai Drive Inn, across from regional park, Kapaakea across from the graveyard, bottom of the Heights area and east end across from Kilohana Elementary. The stand for water will take place from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

Two Molokai men honored with 2009 Hawaiian Health Award

News Release from Papa Ola Lōkahi

William Akutagawa, Jr., a social worker and community organizer and the executive director Nā Pu‘uwai, along with Dr. Noa Emmett Aluli, a physician and community activist, were recognized with the 2009 Hawaiian Health Award. These two dedicated Molokai men were presented with this award on Tuesday by Papa Ola Lōkahi for making significant contributions to improving the health status of Native Hawaiians.

Akutagawa’s community leadership has been meaningful and varied: planning for the needs of Molokai college students, defining and seeking solutions for mental health issues on the island, revitalizing Hawaiian fishpond production, developing and teaching a hunter education program, and promoting a drug-free environment on Molokai

In 1995 he got involved with a group of folks looking at improving the health conditions of Moloka‘i. Built around two major projects, the Molokai Heart Study in 1985, and the Molokai Diet Study in 1987, he co-founded Nā Pu‘uwai.

Dr. Aluli has been serving Molokai since 1975 and has dedicated himself to numerous efforts to address and improve Native Hawaiian wellness, and to the role that traditional values and traditional practices play.

As one of a few Hawaiians in health and medicine in 1983, Dr. Aluli participated in the original E Ola Mau Health Study, the groundbreaking report that established the baseline health status of Native Hawaiians. He co-founded Nā Pu‘uwai, which became the Native Hawaiian Health Care System for Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i.