We aren’t used to major forest fires on Maui — after all, there just isn’t that much land, and most of the forests are rain forests — but there are also large areas in the mountains that are dense with imported eucalyptus trees, black wattle, and even redwoods. That’s what’s burning now. The fire started a few days ago, and seems to have gotten quickly out of hand. The photo at right shows only the northern end. 600 acres had been burned as of yesterday; a lot more has burned since then.
I’ll admit feeling a little nervous today when I looked from my deck to a distant ridge to see great pillars of flame at the edge of massive clouds of smoke. Everything seems calmer now. Several helicopter runs might have slowed the advance on the northern side, while at higher altitudes, it looks like the fire might have reached the edge of the forest, slowing down in the scrublands and volcanic barrens above 8000′. (It’s hard to see past the smoke and afternoon cloud cover.) The predicted weather calls for rain tomorrow afternoon. Let’s hope so.