A brush fire of 1,200 hectares burns out of control through island’s central valley.
Thousands of people on Maui have been ordered to evacuate two towns in the path of a spreading wildfire.
The 1,200 hectare (3,000 acre) brush fire in the island’s central valley was uncontrolled on Thursday night, Maui’s mayor, Mike Victorino, told during a news conference. Firefighters were monitoring it overnight but it was too dangerous to battle in the dark, he added.
“We can’t fight the fire tonight,” he said. “We’re not going to send any firefighters into harm’s way.”
Landed to a massive brush fire in Maui and the entire island is shut down/evacuated and landlines and cell signal are down— Stefanie O'Brien (@sobrizzle) July 12, 2019
So here I am tweeting from a lobby of a random roadside hotel with no vacancy ??♀️. Hello from day 1 of vaca #mauifire pic.twitter.com/sMP1HDS01B
A National Weather Service satellite photo showing smoke hanging over the island was posted online.
Animation of #GOES17 images showing the development of the smoke plume of the #Mauifire?. Made using the excellent SLIDER tool by RAMMB / CIRA. ➡️ https://t.co/oA4BxqH9GQ #Wildfire #RemoteSensing pic.twitter.com/MXGFre0Mg2— Pierre Markuse (@Pierre_Markuse) 12. Juli 2019
The brush fire was reported at about 10.30am and steady winds of up to 20mph fanned the flames, officials said. It jumped a highway and spread across fallow fields and more brush. Two fire department helicopters dropped water on the blaze to try to contain it.
While thousands were ordered to evacuate, it was unclear how many people had left the west Maui coastal towns of Maalaea and Kihei. Three shelters housed about 500 people late on Thursday, media reports said. Maui high school was accommodating about 200 cats and dogs moved from a local animal shelter, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
Kahului airport was briefly closed and flights were diverted because of the smoke, which also forced the closure of two major roads. Operations were back to normal around 7pm, media reported. Look at this plane flying through the smoke:
No injuries or damage to structures were reported, but some farm equipment had burned, HawaiiNewsNow reported.
Another fire burning out of control!