Maui Brush Fire 20 Percent Contained, Stands At About 9000 Acres

Brush Fire in Waikō/Kūihelani Area

A wildfire spreading through Hawaii's Maui island forced thousands of residents and tourists to evacuate on Thursday, according to local officials.

The fire was reported Thursday morning at 10:42 a.m. local time near the intersection of Waiko Road and Kuihelani Highway. We're not going to send any firefighters into harm's way, ' Victorino said Thursday.

In a press conference Thursday night, Maui Mayor Mike Victorino said that the fire had burned roughly 3,000 acres and had not yet been contained ― and because of the dangers associated with fighting fire in the dark, fire officials would not be able to bring it under control overnight. The fire burned through fields and more brush.

"Currently, the brush fire is not directly affecting any of our generating facilities", the utility said in a tweet.

The blaze began in the island's central valley, and steady winds of up to 20 miles per hour (30 kmh) stoked the flames, officials said.

Firefighters have used helicopters to drop water in an attempt to quell the blaze.

But three shelters housed about 500 people late Thursday, media reports said.

Thousands were ordered evacuated, but it was unclear how many people fled the west Maui coastal communities of Maalaea and Kihei.


Opra Winfrey, who owns a home on Maui, allowed County officials access to her private road. But operations were back to normal around 7 p.m. local time, media reported.

Hawaii Governor David Ige sent a tweet thanking the media mogul "for giving @mauicounty access to your private road for use to assist in the #Mauifire".

There were also concerns about the safety of hundreds of dogs, cats and other animals threatened by the blaze, with the the Maui Humane Society rescuing several hundred of them.

Neither Maui County officials nor a representative with the county's Emergency Operations Center were available for comment early on Friday.

The fire broke out as Maui is coping with drought conditions.

Some flights to the island's main airport in Kahului were also temporarily diverted.

No deaths, injuries or structure damage was immediately reported.

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