Maui police officers were going door to door this afternoon to alert residents living in the upper portions of the Launiupoko Subdivision that they may need to evacuate if a brush fire spreading along mountain ridges above them moves toward their homes later this afternoon.
A mandatory evacuation had not been ordered as of 4:15 p.m. today, according to the Maui Emergency Management Agency. However, residents should be aware that they could potentially be ordered to leave their homes. A shelter location will be announced if and when it is opened.
MEMA remained partially activated this afternoon and continued to monitor the fire. The Lahaina Civic Center is on standby for use as a shelter in case evacuations become necessary.
The brush fire was originally reported at 11:40 a.m. Tuesday in the area of Kauaula Valley. Earlier today, it was estimated to have burned 1,200 acres, and it was considered 40% contained.
As of this afternoon, there are no road closures.
Firefighting operations were ongoing today in Lahaina. MFD helicopter crews resumed water drops at daybreak today. Firefighting is difficult because of steep and rough terrain.
Firefighters on the ground are working to secure the fire perimeter in areas accessible to firefighting vehicles.
“Residents in the upper portions of the Launiupoko Subdivision need to be alert to the movement of the fire and comply quickly if an evacuation order is issued,” Mayor Michael Victorino said. “Mahalo to our firefighters and community partners, including State of Hawaii Forestry personnel, Goodfellow Bros. and West Maui Land Co.”
According to the Hawaii Department of Education, four West Maui public schools that closed today because of the fire will be able to safely reopen on Thursday. The schools are Lahainaluna High School, Lahaina Intermediate School, Prince Nahienaena Elementary School and King Kamehameha III Elementary School. The DOE determined that schools could reopen tomorrow after consulting with the Maui Fire Department and the Maui Emergency Management Agency.
Friday, Nov. 11, is the Veterans Day holiday and all public schools, county, state and federal offices will be closed in observance of the holiday.