Thousands of people had to evacuate parts of central Maui after a raging fire swept through parched land.
Cause of fire and evacuation of residents
The fire got out of control and burned 3000 acres of Central Maui as firefighters are trying their best to keep the fire away from the residential areas. The scorching fire prompted evacuations of residence of Kihei and Maalaea on Thursday. The fire originated in fallow former sugarcane lands and dry brush. The fire came into notice about 10:45 a.m. and was fanned by winds of 15 to 20 mph causing it to spread through nearby parched land.
Mayor’s response and precautionary measures
The mayor responded to the fire by saying that fighting the fire tonight is not possible and that they are not going to send any fireman in harm’s way. Emergency Operations Center of Maui was activated as a response to Thursday morning fire. Since it was apparent that the flame would not die down, The Emergency Operation Center sent a mobile alert to all nearby residents requesting them to evacuate. Residents are advised to stay on their toes as there is no predicting route or speed of fire.
Oprah, who has a home in the county, gave firefighters access to her private road for use to help them. All flights at Kahului airport word diverted for a short period and all operations are restored to normal as of now. Earlier the National Weather Service tweeted a satellite video that showed smoke caused by the fire visible from space.
High resolution imagery from GOES-17 is showing smoke associated with a fire in Maui's central valley this afternoon. #hiwx pic.twitter.com/q4yYY8AWEz
— NWSHonolulu (@NWSHonolulu) July 12, 2019
Three Emergency Shelters operated by the department of parks and recreation and Red Cross housed more than 600 people who were evacuated due to fire. The fire also prompted officials and volunteers to move the animal in crates to Maui high school.