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Brush fire closes Honoapiilani Highway

By Staff | Jun 9, 2010

MAALAEA – Fire officials reported that an estimated 2,000 acres have been burned in a brush fire that started Monday, June 7. The blaze was first reported at 10 p.m. that evening.

The county’s latest traffic update at 3 p.m. noted that Honoapiilani Highway remains closed from the N. Kihei Junction traffic light to Ukumehame due to poor visibility from the smoke.

Approximately 100 people have been evacuated from areas affected by the advancing fire and resulting thick smoke. No injuries have been reported.

Evacuees include a handful of residents from the small pocket of homes in Maalaea, shoreline campers, people parked at the Pali scenic lookout and employees of the Kaheawa Wind Farm.

At 2 p.m., the American Red Cross opened shelters at the War Memorial Gym in Wailuku and the Lahaina Civic Center in West Maui. Shelter users are advised that the Red Cross will provide a sleeping cot and blanket for overnight use, water and some snacks. Personal amenities are not provided.

Wind conditions with gusts reported at 40 mph are contributing to unfavorable conditions, and the fire has crossed Honoapiilani Highway to the makai side of the pali tunnel.

Maui Police have made driving through the Kahakuloa area available for Wailuku-bound motorists only. Motorists are reminded that the Kahakuloa route is narrow and can be dangerous for unfamiliar drivers.

Access into Kahakuloa from the Wailuku-side is available only to residents of the area.