Tourists, Residents Evacuated As Wildfire Spreads At Hawaii's Maui Island

Maui fire latest news: Hawaii wildfire forces evacuations in Maalaea and Kihei today - Live updates

People began returning home Thursday evening after the fire burned an estimated 10,000 acres of fallow former sugar cane and dry brush. We're not going to send any firefighters into harm's way, ' Victorino said Thursday.

Smoke from the brush fire raging in central Maui, Hawaii, is seen in a video screengrab from HawaiiNewsNow, July 11, 2019.

Mayor Mike Victorino said the 3,000-acre brush fire in Maui's central valley was uncontrolled on Thursday night but it was too unsafe for fire crews to battle it in the dark.

"We are asking everyone to conserve energy, conserve water, and do what you can to be prepared", Maui Mayor Mike Victorino said.

Fire officials said winds blowing 20 miles per hour and higher fanned flames across fallow fields.

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

While thousands were ordered evacuated, it was unclear how many people fled the west Maui coastal communities of Maalaea and Kihei. At least two helicopters were conducting water drops.

Opra Winfrey, who owns a home on Maui, allowed County officials access to her private road.

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".

People forced from their homes are being advised to seek shelter at the War Memorial Gymnasium, the Kihei Community Center, or Kamalii Elementary School, with almost 500 people having done so by the early evening.

Access in and out of Kihei on Maui was blocked as of 3:15 p.m., the Maui News reported. The Maui Humane Society moved its animals in crates and kennels to a nearby high school.

All roads were also opened on Friday, the County of Maui shared, and emergency shelters have closed.

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.

The Maui Race Park shared on July 12 that despite the fire, their structures escaped any major damage and the track is fine, but dirty.

No deaths, injuries or structure damage was immediately reported.

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