The fire currently under way on Maui is going to continue through the night as firefighting crews remain cautious while fighting the 3000 acre blaze. With a number of road closures and evacuations that have been underway today, there have been many people and animals displaced due to this fast moving brush fire. We hope that the Maui County Fire Department stays safe as they attempt to control and extinguish the brushfire.
Motorists left Kihei on Thursday evening through charred Maui Veterans Highway amid a rapidly moving brush fire that consumed 3,000 acres as it swept from Kahului toward north Kihei due to high winds.
Access into Kihei on the highway was reopened at 9:30 p.m. after being closed in the afternoon. The county said that vehicles were being escorted through North Kihei Road.
A Kihei shelter reached capacity at 450 people. A mandatory evacuation of north Kihei residents was lifted at about 9:30 p.m.
All ground firefighter crews were set to work through the night to try to contain the fire, which remained a “very dynamic situation,” according to Maui Fire Department Fire Services Chief Rylan Yatsushiro late Thursday night.
• North Kihei Road (vehicles being escorted).
• Hansen Road.
• Kuihelani Highway.
• All lanes of Maui Veterans Highway.
• Waiko Road.
(click on the Maui News link above to learn more about shelters that are open and/or at capacity)
The Maui Humane Society was one of the first places to be evacuated earlier Thursday afternoon.
“It was black smoke, and it was pretty thick. We could absolutely see the flames. They were close,” said Nancy Willis with the Maui Humane Society.
They moved over 200 animals, with the help of residents and other shelters. They set up at Maui High School where many workers and volunteers are taking care of the animals.
“We’re working on a generator, lights and cots. Lots of people are helping us. We’ve put that plan into place, just in case,” said Willis.
Over 600 people have checked into shelters at the Kihei Community Center, Kamalii Elementary School and War Memorial Gymnasium as of 9 p.m. Thursday night.
As darkness set in, Maui Mayor Mike Victorino said firefighters would not bring it under control overnight.
"We can't fight the fire tonight. We're not going to send any firefighters into harm's way," Victorino said Thursday.