9 p.m. update
Maui police have started contra-flowing traffic along Honoapiilani Highway between Maalaea and Ukumehame tonight. Traffic will be routed along the makai lanes of Honoapiilani Highway.
The contra-flow will be maintained as long as fire conditions permit, officials said. Kahekili Highway remains closed.
The Maalaea mauka brush fire is approximately 4,100 acres in size.
Emergency shelters are now open at Princess Nahienaena Elementary School in Lahaina and Maui High School.
7 p.m. update
Maui firefighters continue to work to contain the Maalaea mauka brush fire that spread across the Pali today. The fire is just over 4,000 acres in size and has reached the Papalaua Wayside Park, officials said tonight.
Crews have also contained a second fire in the Wailuku area that burned appoximately four acres.
The fire was reported at around 4:53 p.m. near Waiinu Road, officials said. Crews are mopping up the area and motorists should avoid the area.
Emergency shelters scheduled to open:
>> 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Velma McWayne Santos Community Center (Wailuku Community Center) *Temporary Shelter*
>> 7 p.m. at Princess Nahienaena Elementary School in Lahaina
>> 7 p.m. at Maui High School
>> Kings Cathedral has opened for food only (not as a shelter).
Road closures currently in place:
>> Honoapiilani Hwy. (30) at N. Kihei Rd.
>> Honoapiilani Hwy (30) at Mp. 13.5, Luawai St., in Olowalu.
>> Units remain posted at Mile Post 7 in Kahakuloa and Nakalele Point. This location is alternating traffic every half an hour.
>> Pali remains a complete shutdown.
As Maui firefighters continue battling a 300-plus-acre brush fire in the Pali area, county officials are asking residents and visitors not to travel into Lahaina due to the closure of Honoapiilani Highway.
Honoapiilani Highway between Maalaea and Ukumehame is closed due to the brush fire, according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation. Kahekili Highway from Waihee to D.T. Fleming Beach Park is also closed.
Residents on Maalaea Bay Road are being evacuated due to the fire being near the road, officials said. Kings Cathedral will be opening for food only (not as a shelter) at around 5:30 p.m. No shelters are currently open, however, officials said the EOC staff are coordinating with American Red Cross to have them in place.
“I want to ask all of our visitors and residents stay away from the Pali area and not to drive to the west side,” said Mayor Michael Victorino, who personally surveyed the scene, in a news release. “Heavy smoke and strong winds are making visibility very difficult and the speed of the fire poses a serious safety hazard to the public. I will be doing everything I can to provide the support our first responders need and I’m very grateful for their efforts.”
At about 9:10 a.m. today, Maui firefighters responded to the brush fire on the upper slopes of the mountain near the intersection of North Kihei Road and Honoapiilani Highway. Access to the fire is limited due to the extremely steep terrain, fire officials said.
At the time, the fire was about 5 acres in size and spreading uphill toward the turbines at Kaheawa wind farm. The employees at Kaheawa were told to evacuate, as were Pali trail hikers.
As of 1 p.m., the fire has grown to about 375 acres, and is still not contained.
Maui Fire Department’s Air 1, 2, 3 and 4 helicopters are making water drops as the fire heads toward the highway along the Pali. Maui Fire has also deployed three tankers, in addition to a relief tanker, three engines, a crew and two battalion chiefs to the scene.
At about 11:15 a.m. today, multiple power outages were also reported on Maui, prompting police to urge motorists to drive with caution through intersections without working signals.
This afternoon, Maui Electric confirmed about 18,300 customers in various parts of Maui, including Hana, Lahaina, Wailea, Haiku, Upcountry, and Kahului, experienced an outage due to a loss in wind generation provided by an independent energy partner.
“This triggered a load shed, or an interruption of electrical service to multiple circuits, to protect the island’s electrical system from further damage,” said Maui Electric in a statement. “All customers were restored by 11:40 a.m.”
Maui County officials advise those who need to get to the airport to leave West Maui earlier. Some motorists have been able to travel out of Lahaina toward Kahului Airport on an intermittent basis, depending on conditions. Officials also advise visitors to call their airlines to inform them that they may be unable to reach the airport if the brush fire closes the highway for an extended period of time.
All motorists are also advised to drive slowly, and with caution to ensure the safety of fire and police personnel.
The County of Maui Emergency Operations Center is standing by in case the brush fire escalates.
Updates on road closures are available via Maui County’s notification service that the public can sign up for at this link.