Maui wildfire grows to 10K acres; most residents return home

Lester Mason
July 13, 2019

The fire had engulfed some 10,000 acres on central Maui by Friday morning, according to NPR.

Smoke filled the sky in Maui, Hawaii, as a wildfire spread on the island, pictured. "We're not going to send any firefighters into harm's way", Mayor Victorino said.

Residents in Maui are being allowed to return to their homes after they were evacuated because of a large brush fire.

"This fire is still an active threat to our community, said Michael Victorino, mayor of Maui County".

Winds fanning the flames were estimated at 15 to 20 miles per hour with higher gusts, he said.

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

Reuters reports that about 500 people had evacuated to three shelters.

The cloud of smoke from the blaze was so huge that it could be seen from outer space, video from the National Weather Service in Honolulu shows.

Neighbouring Big Island is still recovering from last year's eruptive activity at Kilauea volcano, which forced more than a thousand people to be evacuated, as well as destroying more than 700 buildings.

The County of Maui activated its Emergency Operations Center in the morning.

Oprah Winfrey, who has a home in the county, also gave officials access to her private road to help with efforts fighting the fire.

Some flights to the island's main airport in Kahului were diverted because the fire was affecting access to the facility, the state Department of Transportation said on Twitter.

Beyond the evacuations of the Kihei and Maalaea communities, the Maui Humane Society also moved its animals to a nearby high school for safekeeping, CNN 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". MAILE CREWDSON photo A major brush fire Thursday shut down Kuihelani Highway from Honoapiilani HIghway to Maui Lani Parkway.

Meanwhile, because the fire has damaged the electrical grid, Maui Electric customers are asked to conserve electricity between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on July 12.

No injuries or damage to structures were reported, but some farm equipment had burned, HawaiiNewsNow reported.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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