Heat, wind fuel brush fire on Hawaii island of Maui
An out of control wildfire that began along a major Central Maui highway burns Thursday July 11, 2019, in Maui, Hawaii. Hawaii emergency officials ordered an evacuation on Maui due to the runaway brush fire. (Matthew Thayer/The News via AP)
Audrey McAvoy, The Associated Press
Published Friday, July 12, 2019 11:51PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, July 12, 2019 11:52PM EDT
HONOLULU - Firefighters on the Hawaii island of Maui on Friday successfully tamed a large brush fire only to have another blaze ignite near several big box stores, sparking evacuations of a Target and Lowe's.
“We thought we had pretty much one controlled and a new one broke out,” Maui Mayor Michael Victorino told reporters at a news briefing.
Victorino said an aerial survey of the south Maui fire indicated most of the hot spots were out. Hawaii Gov. David Ige said he declared Maui a disaster area to allow the state to provide quick and efficient relief to those affected.
Victorino roughly estimated the flames scorched 19 square miles (50 square kilometres) of mostly former sugar cane land since alighting Thursday.
The new fire emerged at about 1:30 p.m. in fields near several retail stores on the edge of Kahului town. Maui police were evacuating customers from a Target store. A Lowe's store had already voluntarily evacuated.
Maui Fire Services Chief Rylan Yatsushiro said the fire was moving fast amid brisk winds.
Authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders for the historic sugar mill in Puunene and Puunene School, a former school built by Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Co. in 1922.