Maui police reopened Honoapiilani Highway to contraflow traffic after 12:15 a.m. today, after a fast-moving brush fire closed the highway for several hours on Saturday night. Earlier, from shortly after 11 p.m. to almost 11:50 p.m. Saturday, police escorted groups of 20 to 30 motorists on the highway from West to Central Maui. The wildfire has been fanned by strong 30- to 40-mph northwest winds. It was last reported to have grown to an estimated 500 acres, according to the Maui Fire Department.
Mayor Michael Victorino inspected the fire scene and credited Maui firefighters and police for their work to protect lives and property. “Maui firefighters and police are doing a fabulous job under very difficult conditions with high winds and steep, difficult-to-reach terrain,” Mayor Victorino said. “I thank the public for being patient during this highway closure, and we hope to reopen the roadway for contraflow traffic as soon as possible. Please avoid the Olowalu fire area as much as possible.”
Honoapiilani Highway was been closed at Maalaea, and vehicle access to Kahakuloa is limited to local traffic only.
Maui Bus service continued on all routes Saturday evening, except for buses running between West Maui and Central Maui.
The Red Cross respite center at the Lahaina Civic Center has closed, while the respite center at the Kihei Community Center remained open at 303 E. Lipoa St. Because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols, people seeking respite at the center need to remain in their vehicles. The center’s restrooms continue to be open.
The fire was first reported at 5:30 p.m. today mauka of Olowalu Store in West Maui. About 50 Maui Fire Department personnel are on scene protecting homes threatened by flames in the vicinity of Luawai Street in Olowalu area. Police evacuated all the residents from homes on Luawai Street.
Residents can expect possible power outages.
The County of Maui Department of Water Supply is asking Upcountry and West Maui residents to conserve water for all but necessary use for the next 24 to 48 hours because of power outages and the Olowalu brush fire.