Update No. 3, 3:20 p.m.: With the potential risk of escalating conditions from an Upcountry brush fire, the Fire Department is strongly advising residents of Piʻiholo and Olinda roads to proactively evacuate.
The fire was reported at 12:22 a.m. today near Olinda Road and led to early-morning evacuations of residents in the Kula 200 and Hanamu Road areas. As of Tuesday afternoon, the perimeter of the fire was about 1,000 acres. Firefighter crews are actively battling the fire, which has reached as far as Kualono Place near the Kula Lodge.
Trees and downed power lines on Olinda and Piʻiholo roads were cleared Tuesday to make one lane passable for cars and small trucks. As of Tuesday afternoon, the Fire Department is advising residents of Olinda and Piʻiholo roads to evacuate while they can.
Maui Fire officials warn that erratic wind, challenging terrain, steep slopes and dropping humidity, the direction and the location of the fire conditions make it difficult to predict path and speed of a wildfire. When wind sends fire embers up and sparks ignite fires downwind, fires can start at a far distance from their source.
“The fire can be a mile or more from your house, but in a minute or two, it can be at your house,” said Fire Assistant Chief Jeff Giesea. “Burning airborne materials can light fires a great distance away from the main body of fire.”
The American Red Cross is staffing an emergency shelter at Hannibal Tavares Community Center in Pukalani. Pet owners utilizing the shelter need to have pets properly restrained. Kaonoulu Ranch opened Oskie Rice Arena in Makawao for residents needing to evacuate farm and ranch animals.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Hawaiian Electric Co. advises residents to stay at least 30 feet or more away from downed power lines, which may be energized. Downed power lines can be reported to 911 or Hawaiian Electricʻs trouble line at (808) 871-7777.
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