Wildfires that ravaged Central Maui now completely contained, mayor says

Wildfires that ravaged Central Maui now completely contained, mayor says
(Source: MFD)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A pair of wildfires on Maui that began late last week have been 100 percent contained, Maui Mayor Michael Victorino announced Monday morning.

Firefighters will continue working in the area until the fires are extinguished. The flames burned a combined 9,200 acres, causing power outages and cancelling flights out of the Kahului airport.

Thousands of residents were forced to evacuate the area Thursday, at the height of the flames, and the nearby Maui Humane Society actually recruited community volunteers to help transport animals to safety.

“Words cannot express how relieved I am that there were no injuries or major property damage from what were dangerous, fast-moving fires that required evacuations and road closures,” Victorino said.

Officials ask the public to stay out the burned areas due to hazards that may not be visible.

Air quality in Central and South Maui also improved Monday morning, at least compared to late Sunday, when windblown dust and ash enveloped Haleakala from Upcountry Maui to Kaupo and South Maui.

The 9,000-acre Central and South Maui fire was first reported Thursday morning, near the intersection of Waiko Road and Kuihelani Highway. It quickly spread south and east to north Kihei, with some believing it to be the largest wildfire in the county’s history.

A separate 200-acre fire that was first reported on Friday afternoon began near the new Safeway and Lowe’s in Kahului.

More than 24 hours after the massive fire began burning, Governor David Ige issued an emergency disaster proclamation for the island, enabling the state to provide “quick and efficient relief’ as firefighters worked to get the blaze under control.

The cloud of smoke from the fire was so big it could be seen from outer space, the National Weather Service said.

Maui police have launched an arson investigation into the massive wildfires.

Any fire flare-ups should be reported immediately. So-called “smokers” in the middle of burn areas are a lower priority than those closer to fire perimeter areas. The fires may continue to smolder for a week.

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