Maui fires mostly contained

  • A plume of smoke from a brush fire closes Kuihelani Highway in Central Maui, Thursday. Hawaii emergency officials ordered an evacuation on Maui due to the runaway brush fire. (Matthew Thayer/The News via AP)

  • This Thursday photo provided by the County of Maui shows a brush fire that prompted evacuation orders and diverted flights on the island of Maui. (Photos by Chris Sugidono/County of Maui via AP)

  • An out of control wildfire that began along a major Central Maui highway burns Thursday in Maui. Hawaii emergency officials ordered an evacuation on Maui due to the runaway brush fire. (Matthew Thayer/The News via AP)

HONOLULU — The Maui Fire Department continued battling two large brush fires with water drops from helicopters just shortly after sunrise today.

Maui County officials reported the Kihei blaze was 70% contained, while the Puunene fire was about 90% contained as of 7 a.m. today.

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The Kihei fire, which scorched over 9,000 acres, began Thursday morning near the intersection of Waiko Road and Kuihelani Highway, then spread south and east to north Kihei. A separate fire, which burned about 200 acres, was reported 1:30 p.m. Friday near Lowes and Safeway.

“Firefighters will continue work on the fire perimeters, putting out hot spots and flare-ups,” according to a Maui County news release. “A re-assessment of the fires’ containment will be done later today, probably this afternoon. Air drops of water will continue.”

Officials said they closed the Maui High School shelter today but may reopen it later if needed. Maui police reported no current evacuations and reopened all roads to traffic.

About 25 visitors who were stranded at Kahului Airport took shelter at Maui High School Friday night. Buses transported them back to the airport around 5 a.m. today.

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The Kihei Aquatics Center and the Pukalani pools reopened at 9 a.m. today, according to the Department of Parks and Recreation. “The Kihei pool has been cleared of ash and debris, and air quality has improved significantly at the Pukalani pool,” according to the news release.

Gov. David Ige declared Maui County a disaster area in an emergency proclamation Friday to allow the state to provide relief from the fire damage.

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