The 1200 hectare (3000 acres) brush fire in the Island’s central Maui Airport has spread forcing the evacuation of the surrounding areas. Thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate two towns in the path of a spreading wildfire, Hawaiian Officials said.
The fire began at about 1 pm, local time on the 22nd of October 2019, raced across the area due to dry conditions and steady winds. Suspending flights operations at the Kapalua Airport after nearby powerlines were damaged. The airport is expected to remain closed for the rest of the day as the brush fire has reached the airport perimeters.
— Darren McDaniel (@TheMauiDarren) October 23, 2019
With about 40 fire personnel, three air units and several tankers and dozers from the country and private partners are all responding to the situation in hand. Maui Fire Department said that first responders have evacuated Kapalua Airport, and homes in Kahana Ridge and Ala Hoku subdivisions due to the fire.
Maui Airport closes due to wildfires
Mayor Micheal Victorino said, “I want to strongly urge our residents and visitors to avoid the Kapalua area as our first responders fight this fire, please keep the families affected by these fires and our public safety personnel in your thoughts and prayers”.
You can see how quickly this brush fire erupted and where it’s burning. Smoke can be seen for miles. pic.twitter.com/Mf5blAX3EP
— Lauren Day (@LaurenDayNews) October 23, 2019
An emergency shelter was opened at a county civil centre for those who were evacuated from their homes. Helicopters were picking up water, including from the ocean and swimming pools and dumping it on the fire to put it out. The fire-being half contained as of Tuesday night, some of the affected roads and areas have been cleared for residents to return to.
Air operations are expected to return to normal by Wednesday morning. With electricity and telephone service have been restored, urging passengers to confirm flight details with their airline prior to travelling to the Hawaiin airport.