Hawaii's Maui Island wildfire forces evacuations

Brush Fire in Waikō/Kūihelani Area

More than 600 people fled as the blaze scorched 3,000 acres, the mayor's office said.

A Hawaii brush fire so large it could be seen from outer space triggered the temporary evacuation of almost 600 people as it tore through about 10,000 acres of old sugar cane fields and dry vegetation, according to new reports.

A plume of smoke spreads across the sky during a wildfire in Kihei. We're not going to send any firefighters into harm's way, ' Victorino said Thursday. Maui Mayor Mike Victorino says the fire is about 20 percent contained and has so far damaged at least 9,000 acres of former sugar cane lands and brush. It jumped a highway and spread across fallow fields and more brush.

A brush fire has prompted thousands of evacuations and diverted some flights on the Hawaii island of Maui, officials said Thursday.

Fire officials said winds blowing 20 miles per hour and higher fanned flames across fallow fields. Two helicopters from the fire department also dropped water on the blaze to try to contain it.

Oprah Winfrey, who owns a home in Maui, told a local resident on Twitter that she has given emergency responders access to one of her private homes. '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 tweeted.

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According to Hawaii's Department of Transportation, flights had been diverted from Kahului Airport, which was operating briefly on a power generator a result of the fire, but power has been restored and flights have resumed, transportation officials said.

Maui Police Lt. Gregg Okamoto said at a news conference that as fire-related concerns have been growing, the island has been experiencing disruptions with people trying to call 911 to report emergencies.

As of 1:40 p.m., Maui Veterans Highway remained open while Kuihelani Highway continued to be closed, Perry said.

The Maui Humane Society evacuated on Thursday as a precautionary measure for the nearby fire.

Neither Maui County officials nor a representative with the county's Emergency Operations Center were available for comment early on Friday.

The Maui Race Park shared on July 12 that despite the fire, their structures escaped any major damage and the track is fine, but dirty.

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