World Media

Large Brush Fire in Maui Prompts Evacuations and Flight Diversions

Large Brush Fire in Maui Prompts Evacuations and Flight Diversions

The fire had scorched 3,000 acres on central Maui, leading to evacuations of residents of Kihei and Maalaea as it burned out of control Thursday, the mayor's office said.

Thousands of residents and visitors on Hawaii's Maui Island were ordered to evacuate two communities on Thursday as a spreading wildfire sent smoke billowing high into the sky, officials and local media said. He said firefighters would monitor it overnight but that it was too unsafe to battle the blaze in the dark. "We're in deep trouble", Victorino said.

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

A National Weather Service satellite photo showing smoke hanging over the island was posted on local media and social media sites.

A Hawaii brush fire so large it could be seen from outer space triggered the temporary evacuation of almost 600 people as it tore through about 10,000 acres of old sugar cane fields and dry vegetation, according to new reports.

The fire was initially reported at 10:42 a.m. local time. It jumped a highway and spread across fallow fields and more brush.

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The Fire Department's two helicopters, Air One and Air Two, dropped water, and private companies and the County Department of Public Works made their dozers available.

Officials say the fire started along Kuihelani Highway, which runs between Kahului and Maalaea, Thursday morning.

Some flights to the island's main airport in Kahului were also temporarily diverted. 'A big mahalo to Oprah for giving Maui County access to your private road for use to assist in the Maui fire, ' Hawaii Gov. David Ige tweeted. No deaths, injuries or structure damage was immediately reported.

People forced from their homes are being advised to seek shelter at the War Memorial Gymnasium, the Kihei Community Center, or Kamalii Elementary School, with almost 500 people having done so by the early evening.

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.


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