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Hawaii wildfire forces evacuations, cuts power in Maui

13 July 2019

The brush fire was about 3,000 acres in size on Thursday and now it's estimated to be 10,000 acres in size, Maui Now reported.

Smoke filled the sky in Maui, Hawaii, as a wildfire spread on the island, pictured.

Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said South Maui is suffering from poor air quality due to the large amounts of smoke created by the fire.

No injuries have been reported and no major structures were damaged, although the mayor said in a press conference Thursday night that some farm equipment had burned.

The inferno broke out in Central Maui on Thursday morning and quickly spiraled out of control, burning some 16 square miles and prompting road closures as firefighters worked to contain it, Hawaii News Now reported.

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"@Oprah Maui is on fire consider opening the ranch road so we can get upcountry", another tweet read.

The National Weather Service released footage of the smoke from a weather satellite.

Neighbouring Big Island is still recovering from last year's eruptive activity at Kilauea volcano, which forced more than a thousand people to be evacuated, as well as destroying more than 700 buildings. At least two helicopters were conducting water drops.

But three shelters housed about 500 people late Thursday, media reports said.

Oprah Winfrey, who owns a home in Maui, told a local resident on Twitter that she has given emergency responders access to one of her private homes.

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All roads were also opened on Friday, the County of Maui shared, and emergency shelters have closed. The Maui Humane Society was evacuated and animals moved to an evacuation site at Maui High School.

As of 1:40 p.m., Maui Veterans Highway remained open while Kuihelani Highway continued to be closed, Perry said.

Hawaii Governor David Ige sent a tweet thanking the media mogul "for giving @mauicounty access to your private road for use to assist in the #Mauifire".

According to Hawaii's Department of Transportation, flights had been diverted from Kahului Airport, which was operating briefly on a power generator a result of the fire, but power has been restored and flights have resumed, transportation officials said.

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Hawaii wildfire forces evacuations, cuts power in Maui