Hawaii Brush Fire Continues to Spread

The Olowalu fire has so far destroyed one home and displaced a family of 10.


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HONOLULU --

A fire that was reported Wednesday at about 10:30 a.m. in Olowalu on the mauka side of Honoapiilani Highway in West Maui has spread to the makai side of Honoapiilani Highway, officials said.

Employees at a tomato farm and residences in the area near the Olowalu store are being evacuated, and Red Cross officials said they are working to establish an emergency shelter for those evacuated.

Fire and police personnel were battling the blaze.

Honoapiilani Highway from mile post 14 to mile post 16 is closed to traffic.

The Olowalu fire has so far destroyed one home and displaced a family of 10, though no one was injured, officials said.

Maui Fire Department said their Air One helicopter is dropping water on the flames with the help of four other choppers.

The fire has reached the 2,500 foot level and destroyed 800 acres by 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

Maui Police said they closed Honoa'iilani Highway but then reopened both lanes.

Traffic, however, is backed up for miles over the Pali and into Lahaina.

Firefighters are also on the scene of a second brushfire that broke out at about 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday.

The fire was on Kapuna-kea Street in the Wahi-kuli area, which is also in Lahaina.

Some residents are being evacuated because the fire is coming within 20 feet of their homes, fire officials said.

Maui County said the "American Red Cross" has opened two emergency shelters for the evacuees Wednesday night.

One is at the Lahaina Civic Center Gym, and the second is located at Maui High School gymnasim in Kahului.