West Maui wildfire forces evacuations

West Maui wildfire forces evacuations

2 September 2006

published by www.kpua.net

Maalea, Hawaii  —  An out of control wildfire in the windy West Maui mountains has burned two-thousand acres and led to the evacuation of a number of homes on Honoapiilani Highway.

The windy conditions fueled the fire first spotted early yesterday on the coastal scrubland that mostly belongs to thecounty.

Bob Collum is a civil defense staff specialist with Maui County.

He says some 50 firefighters, four helicopters and three fire engines are battling the flames.

The Air National Guard was helping out by sending two helicopters — a Blackhawk and a Chinook. The military helicopters will help firefighters reach higher elevations the other aircraft can’t reach.

The flames surrounded a newly built wind farm at Kaheawa, but there were no reports the facility was damaged.

Honoapiilani Highway, the main link between Lahaina and the rest of the island, was closed in both directions due to heavy smoke and firefighting efforts.

By last night, a contraflow system was in place, with 100 vehicles being allowed to pass at a time.

Shelters were set up on both sides of the fire to help stranded residents andtourists.


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