Residents Allowed to Return Home After Maui Fire Burns 10,000 Acres

County of Maui

County of Maui

Smoke blankets the sky as a wildfire spreads in Maui.

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.

A wildfire spreading through Hawaii's Maui island forced thousands of residents and tourists to evacuate on Thursday, according to local officials. "We're in deep trouble", Victorino said.

'We can't fight the fire tonight.

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

A wildfire that erupted Thursday morning on the Hawaii island of Maui burned 10,000 acres and forced thousands to evacuate. It jumped a highway and spread across fallow fields and more brush.

Fanned by winds blowing 15 to 20 miles per hour, the blaze moved south quickly and jumped Kuihelani Highway, closing that highway initially from Waiko Road to Honoapiilani Highway and later from Maui Lani Parkway to Honoapiilani Highway.

The Fire Department's Air One and Two helicopters responded to the scene to make air drops of water.

Multiple people sent tweets asking Oprah Winfrey to open a private road through her property on Maui, to allow people to escape from Kihei.

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

North Kihei Road remained closed.

But three shelters housed about 500 people late Thursday, media reports said. There was no reported damage to the society's Puunene shelter or any other substantive structures as of early Thursday night. "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. Maui high school was accommodating about 200 cats and dogs moved from a local animal shelter, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

According to Hawaii's Department of Transportation, flights had been diverted from Kahului Airport, which was operating briefly on a power generator a result of the fire, but power has been restored and flights have resumed, transportation officials said.

Latest News