Maui brush fire forces more than 100 residents to flee homes


POSTED: Tuesday, May 04, 2010


More than 100 Maui residents were evacuated early this morning in the Olowalu area because a brush fire that started yesterday afternoon.

The Red Cross opened two shelters, at the War Memorial Complex in Wailuku and at the Lahaina Civic Center, for residents who also were stranded because several west Maui roads were closed.

Honoapiilani Highway remains closed between Maalaea and Launiupoko Park as fire crews continue to battle a brush fire that was first reported just before 2:30 p.m. yesterday. 

Shifting wind conditions caused a brush fire in the mauka area of Ukumehame in West Maui to approach homes in Olowalu. 

Maui police officers began going door to door shortly before 1 a.m. in Olowalu to begin the evacuation. At 1:30 a.m., Honoapiilani Highway from Maalaea to Launiupoko Park was closed.

Travelers in the West Maui area with departing flights out of the Kahului Airport were advised to check with their airline carriers and plan accordingly. 

About 1,100 acres have been burned and helicopter water drops resumed this morning. The cause of the fire is under investigation. No injuries are reported.