Wildfire on Hawaii’s Maui Island Burns 4,000 Hectares

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Officials on Hawaii’s Maui Island say a wildfire has burned over 4,000 hectares and forced thousands of people to evacuate.
Authorities say the fire is not yet contained, but say evacuated residents have been allowed to return to their homes because the immediate threat has passed.
Officials cautioned residents and visitors Friday to be on alert for possible changing conditions in the wildfire.
The aggressive brushfire broke out in Maui’s central valley on Thursday morning, local time, and quickly spread because of steady winds of up to 30 kph.
Two coastal communities were evacuated on Thursday, Maalaea and Kihei, with shelters being set up in nearby areas to accommodate people. Residents have been allowed to return home, but officials say the shelters will remain on standby in case the fire flares up again.
No injuries or significant property damage has been reported from the fire.
On Thursday, Hawaii Gov. David Ige thanked television star Oprah Winfrey for allowing local authorities access to her private road near her home on Maui to help with the evacuations.
“A big mahalo to Oprah for giving mauicounty access to your private road for use to assist in the Mauifire,” he wrote on Twitter.
Kahului Airport was briefly closed on Thursday and flights were diverted because of the smoke.

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