Massive Fire Engulfs 10000 Acres on Maui

Normal flight operations resume at OGG despite ongoing brush fire state says

Normal flight operations resume at OGG despite ongoing brush fire state says

Smoke blankets the sky as a wildfire spreads in Maui.

The 3,000 acre brush fire in Maui's central valley was uncontrolled Thursday night, Maui Mayor Mike Victorino told a news conference.

A raging blaze led to evacuation of more than 600 people in parts of Maui as firefighters battled to keep it away from residential areas, Hawaii officials said. Firefighters were monitoring it overnight but it was too risky to battle in the dark, he added.

"Currently, the brush fire is not directly affecting any of our generating facilities", the utility said in a tweet. "We're not going to send any firefighters into harm's way".

A National Weather Service satellite photo showing smoke hanging over the island was posted online.

Residents in the coastal communities of Maalea and Kihei were ordered to evacuate after the fire, which began Thursday morning, spread out of control, Hawaii News Now reports.

The brush fire was reported about 10:30 a.m., local time, and steady winds of up to 20 miles per hour fanned the flames, officials said.

The Fire Department's two helicopters, Air One and Air Two, dropped water, and private companies and the County Department of Public Works made their dozers available.

Smoke from the fire briefly diverted flights from Kahului Airport and closed two major roads, according to Reuters.

People forced from their homes are being advised to seek shelter at the War Memorial Gymnasium, the Kihei Community Center, or Kamalii Elementary School, with almost 500 people having done so by the early evening.

Multiple people sent tweets asking Oprah Winfrey to open a private road through her property on Maui, to allow people to escape from Kihei.

HawaiiNewsNow reported that officials were also forced to evacuate several hundred animals from the Maui Humane Society, but they were all said to be safe by Thursday afternoon.

County officials in Maui said a brush fire was reported around 10:42 a.m. local time Thursday near the Kuihelani Highway.

No structures have been destroyed so far, although county officials noted that some farm equipment had burned.

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