Maui company says request for water to fight wildfire delayed several hours while gov’t consulted with farmers

Hawaii-based company, Mahi Pono, recently requested for water to help fight a raging wildfire on Maui. However, the request was reportedly delayed by several hours as government officials had to consult with farmers in the area.

The fire started Friday and had burned 25 acres in Maui’s Waikamoi Preserve at its peak. Mahi Pono requested for water from the Aloha Ka’apuni Stream preservation district, a protected area in central Maui, on Saturday in order to help contain the blaze. The company owns about 41,000 acres of land in Maui and while they did not own the land where the blaze had ignited, they wanted to take steps to help preserve the native vegetation.

The request was delayed as the state division of forestry and wildlife had to consult with the Ahupua’a O Waikamoi Farmers Association, which is a group of 11 farmers with interests in the fire-affected area. After consulting with the group, the request was approved to provide access to the stream water reserve.

The state also provided five helicopters to help contain the fire, with Mahi Pono providing both ground and air support. The wildfire was eventually contained and officials credited the quick and effective response from all parties.

“We are grateful for the quick and collaborative response from the partner agencies, our private landowners, and other supporting partners,” Maui Mayor Mike Victorino said in a statement. “I salute all the hardworking people who are helping to keep our residents and environment safe.”