Maui Brush Fire Update: Kapalua Airport, Homes Evacuated as Blaze Rapidly Scorches Nearly 1,000 Acres of Hawaii

Newsweek 1 month ago

A fast-moving brush fire in West Maui, Hawaii, has been blazing in the area near Kapalua Airport.

The airport was evacuated and closed, while homes nearby in Kahana Ridge and Ala Hoku subdivisions as well as on Mahinahina Street have also been evacuated. Firefighters were also reported to be working to protect the Maui Electric Co. utility poles near Kapalua Airport and other structures.

First responders included "around 40 fire personnel, three air units and several tankers and dozers from our county and private partners," the Maui Fire Department confirmed on the official Maui County website.

Kapalua Airport will be reopened at 6 a.m. tomorrow, with electricity and telephone service restored, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (DOT) confirmed on its official Twitter account. "Passengers should confirm flight details with their airline prior to traveling to the airport," the department advised.

Residents and visitors were urged by Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino to avoid the Kapalua area to allow first responders to fight the fire.

An emergency shelter run by the American Red Cross has been opened at the Lahaina Civic Center Social Hall. There are no sleeping accommodations available and those in need of shelter are asked to bring their own snacks and water, the fire department said.

"The shelter is pet-friendly with volunteers from Maui Humane Society at the center. Pets must be crated with halter/collar and leash, and owners must provide pet food and water," the county website notes.

As of 10:00 p.m. around 45 percent of the fire was reported to be contained, according to the fire department.

All roads including Ala Hoku Road, Akahele Street, Mahinahina Street, Olali Street and the Honoapiilani Highway, have been reopened except for Kahana Nui Road.

"Residents living north of Kahana Nui will not have access to their home. All residents south of Kahana Nui in Kahana Ridge may access their homes via Hoohui Road. Fire crews will continue to monitor and address potential threats from the estimated 964-acre fire. Air operations will recommence at first light Wednesday morning," the fire department confirmed.

"Please remember that fire incidents are constantly developing and additional road closures may be necessary," the department noted.

There have been no reported fatalities or severe injuries since the fire. Newsweek has contacted the Maui Fire Department and Maui County mayor's office for any updates on the fire since last night and any further advice for residents and visitors in the area.

The latest fire, which initially covered around 3 to 4 acres when it was first reported around 1:18 p.m. local time, quickly spread to nearly 1,000 acres helped by steady winds and dry conditions, the fire department said.

"I want to extend another heartfelt mahalo to our first responders and American Red Cross for their tireless work," Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said. "I continue to applaud our public and private partners for coming together to help our community."

For the latest information on shelters, road closures and other emergency information, see www.mauicounty.gov.


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