Massive Hawaii wildfire forces hundreds to evacuate

Maui fire latest news: Hawaii wildfire forces evacuations in Maalaea and Kihei today - Live updates

Thousands of people on Maui have been ordered to evacuate two towns in the path of a spreading wildfire, Hawaiian officials and media said.

The 3,000-acre brush fire that covered Maui's central valley remained uncontrolled as of Thursday night, Reuters reports.

Smoke filled the sky in Maui, Hawaii, as a wildfire spread on the island, pictured. "We're not going to send any firefighters into harm's way". In a press conference Thursday, Maui Mayor Mike Victorino said that while firefighters would monitor the flames, they would not be able to bring the blaze under control overnight because of the dangers of battling it under darkness. It jumped a highway and spread across fallow fields and more brush.

Mayor Mike Victorino said the 3,000-acre brush fire in Maui's central valley was uncontrolled on Thursday night but it was too unsafe for fire crews to battle it in the dark.

"This fire is still an active threat to our community, said Michael Victorino, mayor of Maui County".

Fire officials said winds blowing 20 miles per hour and higher fanned flames across fallow fields.

The cloud of smoke from the fire is big enough to be visible from outer space, the National Weather Service says. The fire prompted thousands of residents and visitors in the communities of Maalaea and Kihei to flee as a precaution.

The TSA is asking travelers to arrive at Kahului Airport two hours or more before their flights, Maui Now reported. Two helicopters were also being used to airdrop water.

On Friday morning, it stood at about 9,000 acres with the Maui Fire Department estimating the fire was 20% contained.

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. Operations returned to normal schedules around 7 p.m. Thursday. The Maui Humane Society moved its animals in crates and kennels to a nearby high school.

Hawaii Governor David Ige sent a tweet thanking the media mogul "for giving @mauicounty access to your private road for use to assist in the #Mauifire".

So. Maui is on fire.

No deaths, injuries or structure damage was immediately reported.



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