Fast-moving brush fire in Central Maui now 95% contained

Updated: Aug. 31, 2020 at 8:18 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A fast-moving brush fire that prompted evacuations and road closures in Central Maui is now about 95% contained, fire officials said Monday.

As of 8 a.m., the Maui Fire Department said 1,500 acres have been burned.

Winds mellowed out from Sunday night through early Monday, making it easier for firefighters to get a handle on the blaze. However, winds are expected to pick up again later in the day.

All roads have been reopened in the meantime.

Officials say the fire started around 1 p.m. Sunday in the vicinity of the old Puunene School and the Puunene Post Office, and moved 4 miles out toward Maalaea.

Firefighters came dangerously close to the wild flames on Maui Sunday afternoon.
Firefighters came dangerously close to the wild flames on Maui Sunday afternoon.(HNN Viewer)

Maui’s Veteran’s Highway was shut down, and staff at the Maui Humane Society Puunene Shelter and Central Maui Baseyard were evacuated.

“This is a rapidly moving fire, and I ask everyone to remain vigilant, exercise caution and avoid this area as much as possible,” Mayor Michael Victorino said in a statement.

Multiple units worked to combat the flames both on the ground and in the air. Officials added that several pieces of heavy equipment were dispatched to cut firebreaks.

No additional evacuations are anticipated, but the mayor says the county is ready in case that changes.

“We’re looking at right now the Wailuku Commumnity, Ewa McCain’s Community Center and we’ll have social distancing and physical distancing will be applied too. We also have the Waikapu’u community center if necessary and the Kihei Community Center if necessary,” Mayor Victorino added.

Victorino added its been very dry in the area lately and says the last time it rained was about a month ago.

Thick smoke was seen Sunday afternoon.
Thick smoke was seen Sunday afternoon.(HNN Viewer)

This story will be updated.

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