Maui Brush Fire Still Burning

(KHNL) - A large brush fire burning on Maui has so far charred at least 800 acres and fire fighters are woriking hard to keep it from doing more damage.

Adding to concerns is that fact the fire is burning on both the mauka and makai sides of the Honoapi'ilani highway.

The highway has been shut down in the Olowalu area so fire fighters can work to keep it from spreading.

The fire first crossed the highway at about 12:30 Wednesday afternoon.

The situation improved late in afternoon, enough so, that firefighters were able to re-open a portion of the highway that had been shut for much of the day.

But shortly after seven o'clock, the flames kicked back up, and traffic once again came to a stop on the only road that connects Kahului with the resort areas of Lahaina and Ka'anapali.

The fire is moving north, toward Launiupoko.

Thick black smoke and soot filled the air near Olowalu and with 30 m.p.h. winds gusting through the area the fire spread quickly down the mountain toward the ocean, and people.

Ten people are now without a home after the fire destroyed them.

Drivers in Kahului were being urged to stay off the road until further notice.

The red cross opened two shelters for people not able to make it home; one at the Lahaina Civic Center, the other at Maui High School's gym in Kahului.

They're assisting close to 300 visitors who are stranded because of the road closure.