Thousands of people were forced to leave their homes after spreading wildfires burned across 30,000 acres and sent smoke suspending into the sky.
Mayor Mike Victorino said the wildfires in Maui’s central valley were not controlled and it was dangerous for firefighters to stop it in the dark.
Water drops by air was resumed right away to stop the fires from spreading further, according to Maui Today.
“We can’t fight the fire tonight,” he stated. “We’re not going to send any firefighters into harm’s way.”
A photo from the National Weather Service satellite showed smoke hanging over the island and was shared on social media sites and local media.
The fire was reported around 10:30 am local time and quickly spread across fields. Two helicopters from the fire department dropped water on the area to stop it from spreading any further.
Thousands of people were forced to evacuate but it wasn’t clear how many had to flee the west Maui coastal communities of Kihei and Maalaea.
Three shelters accommodated about 500 people, according to media reports. The Maui High School accommodated about 200 dogs and cats and moved from a local animal shelter.
Kahului Airport closed for a short period of time and flights were diverted due to the thick smoke, which also forced two major roads to close.
Oprah Windfrey, who has a home in the area, gave officials access to her private road.
“A big mahalo to Oprah for giving Maui County access to your private road for use to assist in the Maui fire,” Hawaii Gov. David Ige wrote on Twitter.
No damage to structures or injuries were reported. However, many farm equipment burned, according to HawaiiNewsNow.
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