Thousands of visitors to be evacuated as authorities ask people to reschedule travel
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thousands of visitors will be evacuated from Maui amid devastating wildfires that have decimated entire communities.
State Adjutant General Ken Hara said visitors who cannot find hotel rooms will be put up at the Hawaii Convention Center. The venue will be able to hold about 4,000.
Officials said the convention center will welcome both visitors and displaced Maui residents.
Meanwhile, acting Gov. Sylvia Luke said she has signed an emergency proclamation to discourage visitors from coming to Maui.
“This is not a safe place to be,” she said, at a news conference Wednesday.
Many of the visitors who are being evacuated are at Kahului Airport. After flying in, they’re being asked to turn around — or return home.
Chris Phillips is visiting from Los Angeles and spent the night in his rental car with family.
“We came in last night to go to the Grand Hyatt found out it was all closed and we couldn’t get to it. Their power was down,” he said.
He added the scenes of raging wildfires were startling.
“I thought it was a volcano. I was like what island is that? I wasn’t sure where it was.”
He plans to fly out to Kauai with his family on Wednesday.
Debbie Scott, visiting from Ottawa, Canada said that she and her husband decided to fly out after the power went out.
“As we were passing the Lahaina bypass it was shutting it down due to wildfires, and a drive that normally takes 45 minutes to four hours,” she said.
“We spent the night here with about 1,200 people.”
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