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Day 1: Swift-moving fire in West Maui starts in Kauaula Valley, scorches 1,200 acres

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A large brush fire in West Maui has already burned an estimated 1,200 acres since it was first reported at around 11:40 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, in the area of Kauaula Valley. Fire officials had estimated that they had the fire 40% contained by Wednesday morning, Nov. 9, but flareups and difficult conditions continued in Day 2. A new post has been created to track Day 2 firefighting operations. Follow the links below:

  • Day 5 coverage: LINK.
  • Day 4 coverage: LINK.
  • Day 3 coverage: LINK.
  • Day 2 coverage: LINK.
  • Day 1 coverage: LINK.

Day 1: Fire burns 850 acres, forces road closures, evacuations

West Maui fire burns into the evening. (11.8.22) Video Credit: BKR Vlogs

Update: 7:24 a.m., 5 a.m., Nov. 9, 2022

Air assets returned at first light to the scene of an 850 acre fire that forced road closures and evacuations on Tuesday in West Maui.

A shelter was set up overnight at the Lahaina Civic Center to accommodate evacuees and individuals stranded by fire impacts. All affected roadways had been reopened before midnight.

The fire started at around 11:40 a.m. in Kauaula Valley, but quickly spread as terrain made firefighting access difficult, and afternoon winds pushed flames towards the Lahainaluna area. By nightfall, the fire had spread to the base of Paʻupaʻu “Mount Ball.”

Today, there are four West Maui schools that are closed due to the fire, including: Lahainaluna High School, Lahaina Intermediate, Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary School and King Kamehameha III Elementary School.

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*Check back for updates, which will be posted as they become available.

  • Kauaula fire advances toward Lahainaluna as night falls in West Maui. PC: Jacob Ottmann
  • West Maui fire, vantage from Lahaina Harbor at 6:28 p.m., Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Nicole Bouchard
  • West Maui fire from homes at Launiupoko. (9:30 p.m. Nov. 8, 2022) PC: courtesy.
  • Kauaula fire advances toward Lahainaluna as night falls in West Maui. (11.8.22) PC: Elizabeth Bowen
  • Kauaula fire (11.8.22) spreading toward Lahainaluna as night falls in West Maui.PC: Shannon Richards
  • Fire from the Lahaina Civic Center looking south as night falls over West Maui. PC: courtesy (11.8.22)
  • Kauaula fire advances toward Lahainaluna as night falls in West Maui. (11.8.22) PC: Elizabeth Bowen
  • Kauaula fire advances toward Kahoma as night falls in West Maui. (6:30 p.m., 11.8.22) PC: Kathryn Smirke
  • Kauaula fire (11.8.22) spreading toward Lahainaluna. View from Tamura’s parking lot. PC: Rosa McAllister
  • Kauaula fire advances toward Lahainaluna as night falls in West Maui. Vantage: from Mala mooring field. PC: Chelsea Paslay
  • West Maui fire, vantage from Lahaina Harbor at 6:28 p.m., Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Nicole Bouchard
  • Fire from the Lahaina Civic Center looking south as night falls over West Maui. PC: courtesy (11.8.22)
  • Kauaula fire (11.8.22) spreading toward Lahainaluna. PC: Julie OHara
  • Kauaula fire (11.8.22) spreading toward Lahainaluna. PC: Julie OHara
  • West Maui fire, 6:45 p.m., Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Kanani Higbee
  • West Maui fire, 6:45 p.m., Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Kanani Higbee
  • West Maui fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Elvice Wu
  • West Maui fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Elvice Wu
  • West Maui fire continues to burn into the night. Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Janese Swanson
  • West Maui fire continues to burn into the night. Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Janese Swanson
  • West Maui fire continues to burn into the night. Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Janese Swanson
  • West Maui fire continues to burn into the night. Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Janese Swanson
  • West Maui fire continues to burn into the night. Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Janese Swanson
  • West Maui fire continues to burn into the night. Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Joy Armstrong
  • West Maui fire continues to burn into the night. Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Joy Armstrong
  • West Maui fire continues to burn into the night. Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Joy Armstrong
  • West Maui fire continues to burn into the night. Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Joy Armstrong
  • West Maui fire continues to burn into the night. Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Joy Armstrong
  • West Maui fire continues to burn into the night. Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Joy Armstrong
  • West Maui fire continues to burn into the night. Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Joy Armstrong
  • West Maui fire from homes at Launiupoko. (9:30 p.m. Nov. 8, 2022) PC: courtesy.
  • Moon above Lahaina fire. (11.8.22) PC: Tiffany Sarte
  • West Maui fire (11.8.22) PC: Aimee Miller
  • West Maui fire (11.8.22) PC: Aimee Miller
  • West Maui fire (11.8.22) PC: Aimee Miller

West Maui fire burns 850 acres; Lahaina Civic Center opens as shelter; 4 Lahaina schools closed; Bypass reopens

(Update: 11:02 p.m., Nov. 8, 2022)

All roadways in Lahaina are now open.

(Update: 8:51 p.m., Nov. 8, 2022)

The Lahaina Civic Center has opened as of 8 p.m. Tuesday for any evacuees from a large brush fire that has burned 850 acres since it was first reported at 11:40 a.m. in Kauaula Valley.

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County officials say residents who may need to evacuate are those in the vicinity of Lahainaluna High School, Lahainaluna Road and Hōkiokio Place.

A temporary closure of the Lahaina Bypass is in effect with traffic being redirected to Honoapiʻilani Highway from Kai Hele Kū to Hōkiokio Place. The bypass remains closed in the vicinity of Lahainaluna Road to Lahainaluna High School.

“The Maui Emergency Management Agency partially activated tonight, and officials including Mayor Michael Victorino are closely monitoring the fire this evening,” according to a County of Maui issued press release.

Three Maui Fire Department helicopters conducted water drops throughout the day, but were grounded later because of darkness.

Shifting winds and difficult accessibility are among the challenging factors firefighters have faced throughout the day.

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Four West Maui public schools will be closed tomorrow, Nov. 9, because of the brush fire, according to the Hawaiʻi Department of Education, including: Lahainaluna High School, Lahaina Intermediate, Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary School and King Kamehameha III Elementary School.

West Maui fire, vantage from the Hyatt Regency. (11.8.22) PC: Matt Radacosky
  • Multiple air assets were used to battle the difficult to reach fire at Kauaula Valley (11.8.22) PC: Madison Jane
  • Multiple air assets were used to battle the difficult to reach fire at Kauaula Valley (11.8.22) PC: Madison Jane
  • Multiple air assets were used to battle the difficult to reach fire at Kauaula Valley (11.8.22) PC: Madison Jane
  • Multiple air assets were used to battle the difficult to reach fire at Kauaula Valley (11.8.22) PC: Madison Jane
  • Multiple air assets were used to battle the difficult to reach fire at Kauaula Valley (11.8.22) PC: Madison Jane
  • Multiple air assets were used to battle the difficult to reach fire at Kauaula Valley (11.8.22) PC: Madison Jane
  • Multiple air assets were used to battle the difficult to reach fire at Kauaula Valley (11.8.22) PC: Madison Jane
VC: BKR Vlogs

As night falls, firefighting effort continues
Temporary Bypass closure; 4 school closures

(Update: 7:10 p.m., Nov. 8, 2022)

As of 7 p.m., the following four campuses in West Maui will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 9, due to a brush fire in the area and evacuations of residents that are currently underway. Schools are in the process of notifying staff and students’ families. The school closures include:

  • Lahainaluna High
  • Lahaina Intermediate
  • Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary 
  • King Kamehameha III Elementary

(Update: 6:22 p.m., Nov. 8, 2022)

Maui fire crews continue to battle a stubborn fire that started in Kauaula Valley and advanced to the hills above Lahainaluna by nightfall.

At around 6:21 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, authorities were preparing a road closure on the Lahaina Bypass. As of 6:45 p.m., the Lahaina Bypass is closed from Kai Hele Kū to Hōkiokio-traffic being directed down to the lower highway. Lahainaluna Road from the Bypass up towards the Lahainaluna High School is also closed.

Earlier in the day, three helicopters were used to conduct water drops. Air support was expected to stand down as darkness sets in. Meanwhile, ground crews continue their efforts to battle the fire and flareups as the blaze advances.

Shifting winds and difficult accessibility are among the challenging factors firefighters have faced throughout the day. The fire started at around 11:40 a.m. It had burned more than 150 acres at last report, and was 20% contained, according to fire officials.

Crews from Goodfellow Brothers construction company are assisting with a dozer to start cutting a firebreak near homes along the Bypass in the area of Lahainaluna Road.

Updated images from ridge near Lahainaluna “L”

  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Tiffany Sarte
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Tiffany Sarte
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Shannon Richards
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Kanani Higbee
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Kanani Higbee
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Kanani Higbee
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Kanani Higbee
  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22) PC: Suzanne LaChapelle
  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22) PC: Suzanne LaChapelle
  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22) PC: Suzanne LaChapelle
  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22) PC: Suzanne LaChapelle
  • Kauaula fire (11.8.22) PC: Ophelia Malacas
  • Kauaula fire (11.8.22) PC: Ophelia Malacas
  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22) PC: Traci Manwaring
  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22) PC: Traci Manwaring
  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22). PC: Diane Seals

Kauaula Valley fire, photos from nearby residents

  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22) PC: Ciani Leedy
  • Kauaula Valley fire, taken from Pua Niu Way in Launiupoko at about 1:30 p.m., Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Bob C
  • Kauaula Valley fire, taken from Pua Niu Way in Launiupoko at about 1:30 p.m., Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Bob C
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Jaasiel Tiu
  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22) PC: Mary Whitmore
  • Kauaula Valley fire 11.8.22. Taken from Tamura’s lot, 12:14 p.m. PC: Mary Whitmore
  • Kauaula Valley fire 11.8.22. Taken at around 1 p.m. PC: Carla Vincent
  • Kauaula Valley fire 11.8.22. Taken from highway between 12:19-12:32 p.m. PC: Mary Whitmore
  • Kauaula Valley fire 11.8.22. Taken from highway between 12:19-12:32 p.m. PC: Mary Whitmore
  • Kauaula Valley fire 11.8.22. Taken from highway between 12:19-12:32 p.m. PC: Mary Whitmore
  • Kauaula Valley fire 11.8.22. Taken from highway between 12:19-12:32 p.m. PC: Mary Whitmore
  • Kauaula Valley fire 11.8.22. Taken from Tamura’s lot, 11:56 a.m. PC: Mary Whitmore
  • Kauaula Valley fire 11.8.22. PC: Moani King
  • Kauaula Valley fire 11.8.22. PC: Moani King
  • Kauaula Valley fire 11.8.22. PC: Moani King
  • Kauaula Valley fire 11.8.22. PC: Elizabeth Bowen
  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22) PC: Allan Atherfold
  • Kuala Valley fire 11:57 a.m., Nov. 8, 2022. PC: courtesy
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Kate S
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Kate S
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Suzanne LaChapelle
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Suzanne LaChapelle
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Suzanne LaChapelle
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Suzanne LaChapelle
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Suzanne LaChapelle
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Bonnie Blumenfeld
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Bonnie Blumenfeld
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Bonnie Blumenfeld
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Jaasiel Tiu
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Jaasiel Tiu
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Brandi White
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Brandi White
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Jessica Stewart
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Jessica Stewart
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Jessica Stewart
  • Kauaula Valley fire, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Maui Fire Department.
  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22) PC: Diane Seals
  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22) PC: Lightstorm Johnima & Kalassu
  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22) PC: Ciani Leedy
  • Kauaula Valley fire between 3:45 and 4 p.m. on 11.8.22. PC: Dan Morrone
  • Kauaula Valley fire between 3:45 and 4 p.m. on 11.8.22. PC: Dan Morrone
  • Kauaula Valley fire between 3:45 and 4 p.m. on 11.8.22. PC: Dan Morrone
  • Kauaula Valley fire between 3:45 and 4 p.m. on 11.8.22. PC: Dan Morrone
  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22) PC: Brooke Jernall
  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22) PC: Lisa Sheese (Illinois)
  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22) PC: Lisa Sheese (Illinois)
  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22) PC: Lisa Sheese (Illinois)
  • Kauaula Valley fire. (11.8.22) PC: Kristina Akselrod
  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22) PC: Nicolas Gutierrez
  • Kauaula Valley fire (11.8.22) PC: Nicolas Gutierrez
  • West Maui fire at Kauaula Valley, Nov. 8, 2022. PC: Brogan Hogan
Mahalo to all who sent us videos and photos. Video credits are on screen. Mahalo to Blake Ramelb, Ryan Tone, and Ashley Okano for the images included in this video. *To submit video and images, please email [email protected]

Kauaula Valley fire, Photos from offshore

  • Kauaula Valley fire 11.8.22, vantage from offshore. PC: Ryan Tone
  • Kauaula Valley fire 11.8.22, vantage from offshore. PC: Ryan Tone
  • Kauaula Valley fire 11.8.22, vantage from offshore. PC: Ryan Tone
  • Kauaula Valley fire 11.8.22, vantage from offshore. PC: Ryan Tone
  • Kauaula Valley fire 11.8.22, vantage from offshore. PC: Bill Lewis

Update 4:24 p.m. / 3:23 p.m. / 1:40 p.m. / 1:18 p.m. / 12:45 p.m.
Original Post: (11:57 a.m., Nov. 8, 2022)

Fire crews continue to battle a swift-moving fire in Kauaula Valley in West Maui, reported at around 11:40 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

The fire had burned more than 150 acres by 1:40 p.m. according to Maui Fire Services Chief Rylan Yatsushiro. At 4:23 p.m., the fire remained at about 150 acres burned, and crews had gained 20% containment.

Crews were trying to get a handle on the fire and douse flareups ahead of an anticipated shift in winds this afternoon.

Multiple fire units are on scene including: Engine 3, Ladder 3, Tanker 3, Engine 11, Air 1, Air 2, Air 3 and a Battalion Chief.

Crews arrived to find a working brush fire. “Access to the area is a challenge due to rough terrain. Crews continue to remain on scene and continue to work on containment. No structures have been involved at this time,” according to an updated department report.

Motorists and nearby residents sent us images of the blaze, showing heavy black smoke coming from the valley, with winds blowing smoke towards the “L” on the mountainside.

The fire was spreading mauka towards the nearby ridge according to initial report.

Efforts are focused on protecting homes in the area and keeping the fire from advancing. As of 12:45 p.m., residents close to the fire were being advised to voluntarily evacuate. Initial reports indicate there were no immediate structures in danger.

*Check back for updates, which will be posted as they become available. If you have photos or video of news happening on Maui, you may send them to us at [email protected]

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.
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