The county of Maui is warning some West Maui residents that although a mandatory evacuation hadn’t been ordered as of 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, they should be aware that they might need to leave their homes if the fast-moving brush fire continues to spread.

Maui County locator map

In a new release issued late Wednesday afternoon, the county said that police officers were going door to door to alert residents living in the upper portions of the Launiupoko Subdivision that they should prepare to evacuate if a brush fire burning along mountain ridges above them moves toward their neighborhood.

The brush fire was first reported late Tuesday morning around the Kauaula Valley and has since burned an estimated 1,200 acres, according to the county. The Maui Fire Department has been working around the clock to get the blaze under control, which was considered 40% contained earlier in the day on Wednesday.

Because of the steep and rough terrain in the area, firefighting is difficult, according to the county.

“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 in the news release.

The county has the Lahaina Civic Center on standby to use as a shelter if evacuations are ordered.

The fire closed four nearby public schools Wednesday, which are planned to reopen Thursday, according to the news release. Those schools are Lahainaluna High School, Lahaina Intermediate School, Prince Nahienaena Elementary School and King Kamehameha III Elementary School. According to the county, the DOE is currently working with the Maui County Fire Department and its Emergency Management Agency.

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by grants from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation and the Fred Baldwin Memorial Foundation.

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