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UPDATE: Central Maui Wildfire Uncontained

Updated at 7 p.m.

The County of Maui reports the following road updates:

  • Maui Veterans Highway has reopened for traffic leaving Kihei only.
  • North Kihei Road remains closed.
  • Kuihelani Highway has reopened.
  • Waiko Road has reopened.

Open shelters are:

  • The Kihei Community Center, manned by the Department of Parks and Recreation; with 156 people and six dogs there.
  • Kamalii Elementary School, manned by the Red Cross; with 253 people.
    War Memorial Gymnasium, manned by Red Cross; with 70 people.
  • The Velma McWayne Santos Community Center in Wailuku is on standby as an emergency shelter if War Memorial reaches capacity.

Visitors are being told to stay at their hotels and off the roads. Car rental companies are telling visitors they cannot drive to Kihei.

The Maui County Department of Transportation has six motor coaches and five school buses on standby at Kahului Airport to transport visitors and affected residents to shelters. Some visitors already have been transported to War Memorial Gym.

Updated at 5:30 p.m.

Hawaii Red Cross volunteers have opened two shelters in response to the large brush fire in Kihei. The shelters are located at Kamalii Elementary School, 180 Alanui Ke’ali’i, Kihei, HI 96753, and at the War Memorial Complex, 700 Halia Nakoa St, Wailuku, HI 96793.

In addition, Hawaiian Airlines is offering guests who purchased tickets for travel today or tomorrow on the carrier’s flights arriving or departing at Kahului and Kapalua airports the option to reschedule their travel without incurring change fees. The rebooked travel must occur by July 18. Hawaiian’s flights are operating as scheduled, but guests are advised to check their flight status for the latest updates.

Maui Police Department reports that Maui Veteran’s Highway is open to Kahului-bound traffic only. North Kihei Road is closed to incoming traffic. Motorists may drive out of Kihei but the traffic into Kihei is cut off at Honoapiilani Highway.

Maui Electric Light officials say that around 1:50 p.m., about 4,000 customers in parts of South Maui experienced an outage due to the Central Maui brush fire. Most customers were restored by 3 p.m. Three customers are offline until the fire can be contained. Currently, the brush fire is not directly affecting any of the Maui Electric generating facilities.

Updated at 3:10 p.m.

The County of Maui is asking Kihei residents north of Ohukai Road to evacuate the area. Kamalii Elementary School is open as a shelter.

Updated at 2:30 p.m.

Maui Veterans Highway was shut down at 2:20 p.m. Thursday from the Central Maui baseyard to its intersection with Piilani Highway and North Kihei Road while Maui Fire Department firefighters continue to battle a brush fire.

Kuihelani Highway remains closed. North Kihei Road is closed to traffic traveling toward Kihei. Motorists may drive out but not in to Kihei, Maui Police Department officials report.

The County of Maui activated its Emergency Operations Center to respond to a wildfire reported at 10:42 a.m. Thursday near the intersection of Waiko Road and Kuihelani Highway.

Maui firefighters were positioning equipment and personnel to protect the Maalaea Power Plant in South Maui, while residents in the Sugar Beach area of South Maui were being advised to prepare to evacuate. The notification is precautionary. No residential evacuations have been ordered as of 2:15 p.m.

Also as a precaution, a shelter will be open at 3:30 p.m. at Kamali`i Elementary School in Kihei.

Meanwhile, the Maui Humane Society has evacuated, moving its animals in crates and kennels to its evacuation site at Maui High School.

Earlier, a large brush fire on the Maalaea side of Waiko Road jumped Kuihelani Highway, closing that highway from Honoapiilani to Maui Lani Parkway.

The blaze was reported at 10:42 a.m. Thursday south of the intersection of Kuihelani Highway and Waiko Road, according to the Maui Fire Department. Winds fanning the flames were estimated to be blowing from 15 to 20 mph, with higher gusts.

The fire was moving south across fallow fields with no structures immediately threatened.

The Fire Department’s Air One and Two helicopters responded to the scene to make air drops of water. The department has three engines, three tankers and two battalion chiefs on scene. The department also has received assistance with bulldozers from West Maui Land Co., Goodfellow Bros. and the County of Maui Department of Public Works.

Motorists heading from West and South Maui traveling to Central Maui and Kahului Airport need to detour to Honoapiilani Highway until Kuihelani and Maui Veterans highways reopen.

Original story published at 12:45 p.m.

A large brush fire on the Maalaea side of Waiko Road has jumped Kuihelani Highway, closing that highway from Honoapiilani to Maui Lani Parkway while firefighters battle the blaze.

The blaze was reported at 10:42 a.m. Thursday south of the intersection of Kuihelani Highway and Waiko Road, according to the Maui Fire Department. Winds fanning the flames were estimated to be blowing from 15 to 20 mph, with higher gusts.

The fire was moving south across fallow fields with no structures immediately threatened.

The Fire Department’s Air One and Two helicopters responded to the scene to make air drops of water. The department has three engines, three tankers and two battalion chiefs on scene. The department also has received assistance with bulldozers from West Maui Land Co., Goodfellow Bros. and the County of Maui Department of Public Works.

Motorists heading from West Maui traveling to Central Maui and Kahului Airport need to detour to North Kihei Road and Maui Veterans Highway until Kuihelani Highway reopens.

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