(NEW YORK) — Ferocious wildfires, whipped by the winds of Hurricane Dora, wreaked havoc in Hawaii, prompting evacuations, rescues and school closures and prompting an emergency proclamation from the acting governor.
The proclamation was issued for Hawaii’s Maui and Hawaii counties on Tuesday by acting Gov. Sylvia Luke. The eye of the hurricane was “churning far south of the islands,” but the winds were still reaching much of the state, she said in a statement.
“We are closely following the wildfires caused by the strong winds of Hurricane Dora,” Luke said. “The safety of our residents is paramount, and this emergency proclamation will activate the Hawaii National Guard to support emergency responders in the impacted communities.”
The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for the leeward portions of all Hawaiian Islands.
There have been no confirmed fatalities as of Wednesday morning, according to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. Communication is spotty on the island and 911 is down in areas of West Maui, according to the state’s EMA.
As of Tuesday night, six fires have burned over 1,800 acres across Maui and the Big Island. Officials said the situation on Maui is very dynamic and fast-moving.
Evacuations were in place Tuesday near two fires burning near Maui — the Lahaina and Upcountry Maui fires, county officials said.
“Multiple structures have burned and multiple evacuations are in place, as firefighter crews continue battling brush and structure fires in Upcountry and Lahaina areas,” officials said in a statement, later adding, “In West Maui, fire crews from Napili, Lahaina, Kihei and Wailuku responded to the fast-moving fire, which was fueled by strong winds as Hurricane Dora passed well south of Hawaii.”
The governor’s proclamation also authorized appropriate actions by the director of the state’s Emergency Management Agency and the Administrator of Emergency Management, according to the statement.
The U.S Coast Guard and other agencies were also responding.
“A @USCG 45-foot Response Boat Medium crew from Station Maui has successfully rescued 12 individuals from the waters off Lahaina,” the guard’s Hawaii Pacific patrol saidon social media.
The guard’s Cutter Kimball was headed to Maui to “enhance efforts,” the statement said.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
ABC News’ Marilyn Heck contributed to this report.
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