Brush fire threatens homes in Maui as Hurricane Lane downgrades to Category 1

LAHAINA, Hawaii (KGO) -- Hurricane Lane has been downgraded to a Category 1 storm, still dumping rain on Hawaii as it moves north.

It's still a very dangerous storm because of the extreme rainfall - 31 inches recorded on the Big Island.

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This 300-acre fire is a bizarre occurrence, given that everyone in Maui has been preparing for Hurricane Lane. But so far, there has been no rain but the winds have increased dramatically, fueling the fire.

Ironically, Maui could use some rain because there are two brush fires being fueled by the strong winds.

On the Big Island, people were helping others evacuate as Hurricane Lane unleashed torrential rain, producing major flooding. As predicted, landslides have already threatened to do more damage.

Power outages affected about 4,000 customers on the Big Island.

RELATED: Hawaii resident talks lack of shelters as Hurricane Lane hits

According to the Red Cross, more than 1,500 people spent the night in 36 shelters on the islands. "We haven't really faced a hurricane of this magnitude as far as I can remember," said Mayor of Maui Alan Arakawa.

Then in the morning hours, a new threat emerged in Maui - brush fires starting in Lahaina and moving up the west side of the island. The winds from the hurricane and dry conditions were fueling these fires.

ABC7 Meteorologist Mike Nicco says as the hurricane comes closer to Maui, those winds will pick up. "A hurricane is coming, the last thing you want is rain because you know there's going to be flooding," Nicco said. "You've already seen the flooding on the Big Island and that's what's coming, but to help out that fire, you could use some rain and so far they haven't seen much."

PHOTOS: Hurricane Lane soaks Hawaii

One woman was treated for burns and some residents in Kaanapali and Lahaina were evacuated, including former Bay Area news photographer Don McCuaig. He lives near the area where the fire is now spreading in Kaanapali Hillside, and shared video of the blaze.

"The fire is literally going horizontally," McCuaig said. "They have evacuated everybody out. Our street is being evacuated."

According to the mayor of Maui, the strong winds have prevented crews from using the fire department's helicopter to drop water on the fires.

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