Breaking news: Maui and the Big Island evacuating due to wildfires; airports open as of now


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Hawaii state officials are currently evacuating visitors and locals from several areas of Maui and the Big Island due to wind-driven wildfires.

Power outages are widespread, and several resorts on Maui are without power, including the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa.

The fires began Tuesday, with winds from Category 4 Hurricane Dora, currently passing south of Hawaii, contributing to the fires but not directly responsible, per reporting by CNN.

As of 9:30 a.m. EDT, residents from Lahaina, Kula, North Kihei and Kaanapali on Maui and Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii were being evacuated, with expanded evacuations expected as conditions worsen. The Associated Press reports several people who fled the flames into the ocean have been rescued.

Hawaii’s Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke told CNN, “911 is down. Cell service is down. Phone service is down. That’s been part of the problem … Maui County has not been able to communicate with residents on the west side, the Lahaina side.”

At the moment, satellite phones are the only means of communication in parts of Maui.

“What we are trying to do is deploy individuals to go into areas with satellite phone service. We have only been in contact with perhaps one hotel because the one hotel, the people in charge of that hotel have satellite phones,” Luke told CNN.

CNN reports that some tourists will be evacuated. Hawaii National Guard members are also being deployed.

Kahului Airport (OGG) and Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport (KOA) remain open, but Hawaiian Airlines encouraged travelers flying in and out of OGG to continue monitoring their flights for updates. CNN reports some 2,000 tourists are stuck at the airport awaiting guidance.

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Mandatory emergency evacuations were occurring in some areas via state and federal agencies, including the National Guard, which Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke requested Tuesday.

Orders to exit from Wailea are likely to mostly affect tourists as it’s Maui’s most popular area and laden with beachfront hotels. Though hotels have yet to publicly communicate plans for guests, they will likely adhere to county officials’ guidance; some resorts had lost communication abilities, per the Maui Emergency Management Agency.

Additional reporting by Clint Henderson.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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