- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - Firefighters were working through the night to protect homes from a rural Maui wildfire that has scorched 5,500 acres and forced evacuations.

The Maui Fire Departments said late Tuesday that so far only a weather monitoring station had been lost to the flames.

The department said crews would remain through the night to prevent any damage to homes.

Earlier in the day, Fire Services Officer Ed Taomoto said the uncontained blaze had forced the evacuation of 10 residents from Kahikinui homesteads, while 10 others chose to remain in their homes.

Five helicopters poured water on the flames from the air. County public works bulldozers laid fire breaks along with state forestry crews. Workers from the Haleakala, Ulupalakua and Kaupo ranches were helping.

The burned area is mostly dryland shrub on the south side of Haleakala, Taomoto said. The blaze stretches from sea level to about 3,500 feet above sea level.

The flames hit several spots in the area but was considered one fire, Taomoto said. The flames were near the 23 to 27.5 mile markers on Piilani Highway.

The blaze began about 5:40 p.m. Monday.

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