A brush fire that blew through 3,000 acres of Hawaii on Thursday forced residents in parts of the island of Maui to evacuate as firefighters fought the blaze.
Emergency officials ordered residents of Maalaea and north Kihei in Maui’s central valley to go to designated shelters as the fire that had started that morning spread, Maui County said in a statement. No injuries or significant property damage had been reported Thursday evening in what firefighters called “a very dynamic situation.”
“It is still moving very quickly with the wind, so we ask everyone to be diligent, to be attentive to what’s going on,” Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said in a video shared by the county.
The county allowed evacuees to return home late Thursday, although they said the fire remained uncontained. Highways were temporarily closed so firefighters could battle the blaze. Flights were diverted from Kahului Airport, the state Department of Transportation said, but later resumed normal operations.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) thanked Oprah Winfrey for giving county officials access to her private road near her home on Maui to be used for evacuations. The former talk-show host had written on Twitter that she was on the island last week to share a meal with members of Weight Watchers, which she partly owns.
Firefighters were combating the flames, fanned by winds of up to 20 mph, with water drops from helicopters and with water tankers and bulldozers, the county said. They did not identify the cause of the blaze.
Maui is Hawaii’s second largest island, with a population of about 155,000 people.