Maui Wildfire PhotosJuly 12, 2019, 12:49 AM HST · Updated July 12, 8:59 AM 23 Comments
Mahalo to all who sent photos and video from the Maui wildfire. Below is a slideshow of the fire from around the island. The fire began at around 10:42 a.m. on Thursday, July 11, and burned an estimated 10,000 acres. The fire forced the evacuation of thousands of people in North Kīhei and Māʻalaea, resulted in road closures and power outages as well as travel impacts at Kahului Airport.
*If you have photos or videos of news happening on Maui, share them with us at [email protected]
Below is a timeline of events through late Thursday night June, 11, 2019. A new post is available for Friday Wildfire Updates.
UPDATE: 12:30 a.m. (7.12.19) Due to flight cancellations as a result of Thursday’s wildfire on Maui, approximately 500 individuals are spending the night within the terminal at Kahului Airport. Others have been accommodated at area shelters.
UPDATE: 10:13 p.m. (7.11.19) North Kihei Road is now open in both lanes, but drivers should expect heavy traffic.
UPDATE: 10:05 p.m. The Kihei-bound lane on North Kihei Road is open. All evacuees may also return home.
UPDATE: 9:30 p.m.: Maui Police Department is escorting cars intermittently through North Kihei Road as conditions allow. Maui Veterans Highway reopened in both lanes of traffic. Residents on Ohukai and to Uwapo Road are clear to return to their homes.
Maui Electric Update: Currently Maui Electric generating facilities have not been affected by the wild fire. We continue to monitor the situation with Maui Fire Department on site at our Maalaea Generating Station.
There are no scheduled or planned outages to customers at this time. Should personnel have to evacuate the Maalaea Generating Station in the interest of safety, Maui Electric staff are prepared and equipped to operate at an alternative location to maintain electrical service.
UPDATE: 9 pm: Maui Veterans Highway is now open in both directions. Please be advised that flare ups can occur at any time and intermittent road closures can occur overnight.
UPDATE: 8:57 p.m.: North Kihei Road remains completely closed and Maui Veterans Highway is only open to Kahului-bound traffic as firefighters continue to battle a wildfire that broke out Thursday morning.
The fire is not contained at this time and mandatory evacuations were ordered for Maalaea and north Kihei residents. Maalaea residents were allowed to return home later in the evening, but Kihei residents were cautioned to remain at the shelters.
“This fire is still an active threat to our community and residents are urged to remain vigilant of changing conditions,” Mayor Michael Victorino said.
The Kihei Community Center, manned by the Department of Parks and Recreation, had 156 people and six dogs before 7 p.m.; Kamalii Elementary School, manned by the Red Cross, had 253 people; War Memorial Gymnasium, manned by Red Cross, has about 200 people.
The Maui County Department of Transportation provided six motor coaches and five school buses on standby at Kahului Airport to transport visitors and affected residents to shelters. DOT is in the process of transporting another 300 people from Kahului Airport to War Memorial.
Those seeking shelter in Wailuku should go to War Memorial Gymnasium and not the Velma McWayne Santos Community Center. The center is only on standby in the event that War Memorial reaches capacity.
Three helicopters flew much of the day Thursday, after the fire was initially reported at 10:42 a.m. near the intersection of Waiko Road and Kuihelani Highway. The helicopters were grounded after sunset, and they are expected to return to making air drops after sunrise.
All ground firefighter crews were set to work through the night to protect lives and property and to try to contain the fire, which remained a “very dynamic situation,” according to Maui Fire Department Fire Services Chief Rylan Yatsushiro.
The Fire Department’s assets include water tankers and bulldozers provided by private contractors, the Department of Public Works and the Department of Environmental Management. State Airports Division firefighters were assisting as well as state forestry personnel.
Police reported some disruptions of 911 emergency communications, but callers were urged to keep calling until dispatchers answer.
Mayor Victorino asked that visitors check with their airlines first before departing for Kahului Airport.
Visitors were told to stay at their hotels and off the roads, and car rental companies were informing visitors not to drive to Kihei.
The wildfire was initially reported at 10:42 a.m. Thursday near the intersection of Waiko Road and Kuihelani Highway. Fanned by winds blowing 15 to 20 mph, the blaze moved south quickly and jumped Kuihelani Highway, closing that highway initially from Waiko Road to Honoapiilani Highway and later from Maui Lani Parkway to Honoapiilani Highway.
Kuihelani Highway and Waiko Road have since reopened.
The Maui Humane Society was evacuated. Officials and volunteers moved animals in crates and kennels to its evacuation site at Maui High School. There was no reported damage to the society’s Puunene shelter or any other substantive structures as of early Thursday night.
The Fire Department’s Air One and Two helicopters responded to the scene to make air drops of water. The department responded with three engines, three tankers and two battalion chiefs on scene. The department also has received assistance with bulldozers from West Maui Land Co., Goodfellow Bros. and the County of Maui Department of Public Works.
Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino viewed the Central Maui wildfire from a helicopter Thursday afternoon and estimated it had burned approximately 3,000 acres of fallow former sugar cane lands and dry brush.
“I’m very happy to report that there have been no reports of injuries or significant property damage,” Mayor Victorino said. “The fire came very close to some structures in South Maui, including the Maalaea Power Plant, but firefighters were able to prevent damages.”
UPDATE:8:24 pm: We have intermittent partial closures reported on both North Kihei Road and Maui Veterans Highway. Motorists are advised that flare ups can occur resulting in traffic impacts and subsequent closures. Please stay off affected roads if travel can be avoided.
Please note:Velma McWayne Santos Community Center has not opened as a shelter. Residents and visitors in Central Maui should go to War Memorial Gym if they are in need of shelter. Kihei area evacuees can go to Kamalii Elementary or Kihei Community Center.
The Kaiser Permanent Kihei Clinic will be closed Friday as a result of brush fire and access issues. Patients will be contacted and rescheduled. All other Kaiser Permanente facilities will be open for normal operations.
UPDATE: 7:26 p.m.: A large wildfire on Maui has burned an estimated 3,000 acres according to Maui Mayor Michael Victorino who surveyed the fire scene from a helicopter this afternoon. A total of 479 people were being accommodated at three shelters. As of 7 p.m, there are 253 people being accommodated at Kamalii Elementary, 156 people and six dogs at the Kihei Community Center; and 70 people at the War Memorial Stadium Complex for those in Central Maui. Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said it appears we have weathered the major part of this event. Far from being declared contained. Currently there are 50 personnel on scene including emergency call-back personnel. There’s also assistance of multiple water tankers and heavy equipment and bulldozers from private contractors and public works. Three air assets are putting water on the fire, but that will end at sundown. All ground crews will be working through the night to protect life and property. State Forestry is also assisting with ground operations. Kuihelani completely open in both directions. North Kihei Road is partially closed due to a flare up. Traffic was being allowed into Kihei at last report. 9-1-1 is intermittently working. If you have an emergency situation, keep trying to call. The Emergency Operating Center is open to ensure resources are being used effectively. The public can call 270-7285 where personnel can give updates at that number based on information available and public can be directed to resources available. According to the mayor, the fire came close to structures. Authorities say the fire was within 150 feet of the power plant. Residents of North Kihei including the Kaiwahine area are asked to remain vigilant. Some farm equipment burned in the Puunene area. No major structures were damaged. A few dilapidated structures were lost, but nothing of high value at this point, according to Mayor Victorino. Maui Fire Services Chief Rylan Yatsushiro said crews remain on scene protecting the power plant in Maalaea. “The fire was all over, it wasn’t just in one area,” said Mayor Victorino. There were three helicopters flying constantly from 3 or 4 p.m. until sundown (at around 7:30 p.m.). “I can thankfully say that Ulupalakua ranch and Oprah Winfrey’s Road were made available for evacuation purposes,” said Mayor Victorino, “but it was not being utilized.” He said the route would be discussed as an option for future incidents.
UPDATE: 6:44 p.m.: We have a report of a flare up along North Kihei Road south of the Maalaea Generating Station in the Makai direction. Crews are on scene. Stay tuned to our feed… we will be covering a follow-up press conference at 7 p.m. The live feed can be found here on our Maui Now Facebook as well on our Maui Now website. ( Click on the story link at http://mauinow.com/?p=306617 ) Maui Airport operations are normal. Those able to reach the airport safely are being served. Please call your airline before heading to the airport.
UPDATE: 6:27 p.m.: Kuiheilani and Maui Veterans Highway TO KIHEI are now OPEN per the Hawaii Department of Transportation; however, crews on scene were reporting that traffic was flowing out of Kihei via the Maui Veteran’s Highway, but was limited for traffic going into Kihei while they deal with an area flare up. Crews are still trying to assess North Kihei Road at this time and facilitating traffic into Kihei via North Kihei Road. Currently the brush fire is not directly affecting any of the Maui Electric generating facilities. Preventative measures including watering the perimeter of the Maalaea Generating Station are ongoing. As of 6:37 p.m., fire was being kept about 150 feet from Maalaea Generating Station. Airport operations have returned to normal. Those able to reach the airport safely are being served. SHELTER UPDATE: Open evacuation shelters are at the War Memorial Gymnasium in Wailuku and Kamalii Elementary School and Kihei Community Center in Kihei.
UPDATE: 6:20 p.m.: Kuihelani Highway and Maui Veterans Highway to Kahului is now OPEN. Also, Airport operations have returned to normal. Those able to reach the airport safely are being served.
UPDATE: 4:51 p.m.: ROAD CLOSURES INCLUDE: Kuihelani Highway, North Kihei Rd, Mokulele, Hansen Rd. EVACUATIONS have been made at: Maalaea Sugar Beach area, Kamalani subdivision in Kihei and some residents along the Piilani Hwy in Kihei. County officials estimate that 3,000 to 4,000 people were evacuated all together. SHELTERS: Kihei Community Center shelter open as of 5 p.m. Kamalii shelter is full with about 450 people seeking shelter at this time. A shelter is also open at War Memorial Stadium Complex for those in Central Maui. The fire quickly advanced south and is now estimated at over 1,000 acres burned. A total of 35 fire personnel are on scene along with multiple engines, tankers and air support. Maui Police say 9-1-1 service is intermittent and if there is an emergency to keep trying to call. MEO transportation phone line and internet is down due to the fire and there is no means of communication for them at this time. Maui Mayor Michael Victorino advises the public to stay off the roads if at all possible, be safe and be patient. The Hawaii Department of Transportation reports that flights are being diverted from Kahului Airport and the facility is currently operating on generator power.
UPDATE: 4:06 p.m.: Fire burns well over 1,000 acres. Mayor’s press conference is posted on our mauinow.com Facebook page. Kihei Community Center shelter open as of 5 p.m. Kamalii shelter is full with about 450 people seeking shelter at this time. Shelters also planned to open in Central Maui. Mayor Michael Victorino says 3,000 to 4,000 people are being evacuated at this time. Maalaea residents were sent emergency notifications to evacuate at around 3:30 p.m. This is in addition to an earlier notification that advised residents North of Ohukai Road to evacuate as well. Kihei is closed off to incoming and outgoing traffic. Heavy smoke is reported making travel dangerous. The Hawaii Department of Transportation reports that flights are being diverted from Kahului Airport and the facility is currently operating on generator power.
UPDATE: 3:52 p.m.: We have reports of cell outages for AT&T customers.
UPDATE 3:37 p.m.: Electrical service has been restored to a majority of customers in parts of South Maui as Maui Electric crews rerouted power to the area.
UPDATE: 3 p.m. Kihei residents north of Ohukai Road are being advised to evacuate now. Displaced residents may use the shelter at Kamalii elementary school. There’s also another brush fire in Lahaina in the Launiupoko area.
UPDATE: 2:43 p.m. Maui firefighters were positioning equipment and personnel to protect the Maalaea Power Plant in South Maui, while residents in the Sugar Beach area of South Maui were being advised to prepare to evacuate.
UPDATE: 2:09 p.m. 7.11.19: As of 2:09 p.m., the Maui Veteran’s Highway is being CLOSED between the Maui Humane Society all the way to Ohukai Road on the Piilani Highway. Traffic approaching the closure from the Piilani Highway is being diverted down to South Kihei Road.
UPDATE: 1:40 p.m. 7.11.19: As a precaution, a shelter will be open at 2:30 p.m. at Kamalii Elementary School in Kihei. As of 1:40 p.m., no residential evacuations have been ordered. Animal evacuations from the Maui Humane Society are now complete and animals from the facility that were evacuated are being sheltered at Maui High School.
FIRE INITIALLY REPORTED AT 10:42 a.m. near the Waiko Rd. / Kuihelani intersection in Central Maui.
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