The latest details on resources, rescues and other info about ongoing Maui fires.

Lauren Haley of Kula discharges her two-inch line firehose Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023, in Kula. Haley has been using the firefighting hose to put out hot spots from underground tree roots. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)
Lauren Haley of Kula discharges her two-inch line firehose Thursday in Kula to put out hot spots from underground tree roots. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

The death toll from the wildfires in Maui is at 114 as of late Friday

About 78% of the affected area had been searched as of the end of the day Friday and six victims have now been publicly identified.

Maui County has now released the names of Donna Gomes, 71, Melva Benjamin, 71, Virginia Dofa, 90, Alfredo Galinato, 79, Robert Dyckman, 74, and Buddy Jantoc, 79. All were Lahaina residents.

More than 175 people and 45 cadaver dogs are conducting searches.

The head of the Maui Emergency Management Agency resigned from his post Thursday, citing health reasons. The resignation came a day after he publicly defended the decision not to activate emergency alert sirens that many community members feel could have saved lives last week

Residents in Lahaina and the Upcountry hamlet of Kula — where 19 structures were destroyed last week — are being told not to drink tap water or take hot showers because of concern that the public water supply was contaminated by the fires.

Federal disaster relief aid is gaining momentum. Nearly 500 federal employees have been deployed on the island and $2.3 million has already been dispensed to more than 1,330 households

Civil Beat will provide updates on many aspects of the devastating fires on Maui as well as the Big Island, where more fires are burning. Read more stories in this section on Hawaii Fires.

Friday, Aug. 18, 2023 – 6:30 p.m.

Gov. Josh Green, with First Lady Jaime Kanani Green at his side, spoke briefly on the governor’s Facebook page Friday night.

Green had little to say in the way of updates but instead shared his conviction that Lahaina and Maui will recover from what he called the “unspeakable, devastating” loss due to the wildfires that erupted last week.


“We will rebuild Lahaina,” Green said. “It will take years of work and billions of dollars. But we are committed to this effort, and together we will meet this challenge.”

The governor also sought to allay fears that Lahaina would now fall victim to greedy interests that wish to take over the land for development.

“Let me be clear,” he said. “Lahaina belongs to its people and we are committed to rebuilding and restoring it the way they want it.”

And, while nonresidents are still advised to stay away from Lahaina, that is not the case for most of the rest of the state, the governor said.

“All other areas of Maui and the rest of Hawaii are safe and open to visitors, and we continue to welcome and encourage travel to our beautiful state, which will support the local economy and help speed the recovery of those who have already suffered so much.”

Friday, Aug. 18, 2023 – 5:30 p.m.

On Friday, Josepha Toakala, 39, of Lahaina was arrested for violation of the rules and orders as outlined in Mayor Richard Bissen’s Second Emergency Proclamation Relating to Wildfires.

At 8:33 a.m., according to Maui County, Toakala was located within the Lahaina wildfire disaster area after being previously warned and escorted out of the area on Monday.

Toakala was transported to the Wailuku Police Station for processing without incident.

He remains in police custody, and bail is set at $200.

Friday, Aug. 18, 2023 – 5:00 p.m.

Adults who directly suffered loss or damage in a Maui fire impact zone are eligible for $1,000 dollars in direct financial assistance, Maui United Way announced Friday.

Applications can be made online at People who need help completing the financial assistance form or require translation services can call 211.

“While this fund only scratches the surface for impacted families, we hope these funds will help Maui’s fire survivors to purchase some of their most urgently needed items,” said Nicholas Winfrey, Maui United Way President, and Chief Professional Officer.

Friday, Aug. 18, 2023 – 2:30 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Jill Tokuda, whose district includes Maui, is holding a federal resource fair for constituents impacted by the fires.

The fair is happening Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Kihei, specifically the Maui Economic Development Board’s Malcom Center, 1305 North Holopono Street, Suite 5.

On site with Tokuda and her office will be to following along with there area of support:

  • The State Department: Passport Replacement
  • FEMA: Disaster Aid
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development: Housing Assistance
  • The Social Security Administration: Social Security Card Replacement
  • U.S. Postal Service: Mail Services
  • The Veterans Administration: Veterans Benefits
  • Veterans Affairs Pacific Island Health Care System: Health Care Support
  • Small Business Administration: Small Business Support
  • USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Services: Agricultural Support for Producers and Communities
  • Hawaii Disability Rights Center: Legal and Advocacy Services
  • Maui Economic Opportunity: Housing Assistance
  • Project Vision-Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Benefits: Medicaid and SNAP Food Assistance
  • Hawaiian Spiritual Comfort

Of note: No filming or photography from unauthorized individuals will be allowed in the building.

Friday, Aug. 18, 2023 – 12:30 p.m.

“Paddle Out for Lahaina: A symbol of aloha and hope” is set for Saturday at 11 a.m. at Kuhio Beach in Waikiki.

Duke Kahanamoku Ocean Festival and Nā Kama Kai invites the public to come together for the community paddle out to the Queens surf break.

The event is be open to all, and participants are encouraged to bring their own flowers and lei.

Monetary donations will be accepted on site and will go directly towards helping families in Lahaina. But please do not bring any supplies.

Friday, Aug. 18, 2023 – 10 a.m.

King Kekaulike High will begin a phased reopening next week.

It follows professional remediation and clean up of the school facilities.

The Hawaii Department of Education says a staggered reopening will take place with all staff returning to campus on Monday and students welcomed to school on Wednesday.

Click here for more information on schools.

Friday, Aug. 18, 2023 – 9:45 a.m.

Stay away from Lahaina. That’s the message from state and Maui County Joint Information Centers — public access to the closed area of Lahaina applies to all unauthorized personnel.

“Several media members have been contacted and warned by law enforcement after going into the affected area,” said Maui County in a press release Friday.

“Going forward, and until further notice, there will be zero tolerance for anyone who trespasses, including residents of the affected area, the news media, and the general public, which could result in a citation or arrest. The area is not safe, and it is disrespectful for anyone to wander around without authorization.”

The officials are calling for patience. Once active search and recovery efforts are done, they say they will try to provide access.

Friday, Aug. 18, 2023 – 9:45 a.m.

The Hawaii Department of Health urges caution for residents and business owners allowed to return to their properties in the Lahaina area.

Hale Mahaolu Eono front entrance is photographed Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023, in Lahaina. The kapuna home burned to the ground two days prior by a large and fast-moving wildfire. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)
Hale Mahaolu Eono in Lahaina, the kupuna home that burned to the ground. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

Dangers include ash that may contain toxic and cancer-causing chemicals including asbestos, arsenic and lead and debris including broken glass, exposed electrical wires, nails, wood, plastics and other objects.

Unstable buildings and structures may contain hazardous materials and could collapse and cause injury.

For more help about recommendations for personal protective equipment including masks and associated hazards, click here.

Friday, Aug. 18, 2023 – 6:30 a.m.

Maui County reported late Thursday that the Lahaina fire is now 90% contained and covers about 2,168 acres.

There was no significant change to the status of the other fires: the Olinda fire is 85% contained and the Kula fire 80% is contained.

There are no active threats at this time, and the Maui Fire Department and United States Army Reserve were onsite.

Also, a drone with infrared capabilities was looking hot spots among the Upcountry fires.

Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023 – 5:30 p.m.

Maui County officials confirmed the identity of the sixth fire victim whose next of kin has been notified.

She is Donna Gomes, 71, a resident of Lahaina.

Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023 – 4:30 p.m.

Replacing birth certificates lost in #MauiFires has been prioritized by Maui DOH Vital Records.

Orders may be placed online by clicking here.

Need help? Call the 808-984-2400 ext. 6-4602 or email to

Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023 – 4 p.m.

From Maui County: Fire investigators have concluded that the Kula and Olinda fires have distinct origins.

Hot spots in gulches, forests and other hard to reach places, along with land divisions and fences, make establishment of complete control lines difficult in the Upcountry fires.

Here’s what we know:

  • Olinda fire: Now 85% contained and covering an estimated 1,081 acres. There are no active threats at this time.
  • Kula fire: Now 80% contained and covering an estimated 202 acres. There are no active threats.
  • Lahaina fire: Now 89% contained and an estimated 2,170 acres. No active threats.
  • Pulehu / Kihei fire: Remains 100% contained.

Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023 – 12:30 p.m.

The latest from Gov. Josh Green:

Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023 – noon

The Hawaii Real Estate Commission is warning real estate licenses of taking advantage of real property owners in Lahaina.

This area mauka of the Lahaina Bypass shows a wildfire burn area near the HECO power station Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023, in Lahaina. A large fire consumed areas of West Maui last week. Utilities have not been fully restored.  (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)
This area mauka of the Lahaina Bypass. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

The warning, issued Thursday in a press release, decried recent news and social media reports on “horrifying stories regarding the unconscionable conduct of some individuals, both in and out-of-state, attempting to profit from the tragic Lahaina events.”

Hawaii rules require licensees to report any and all conduct of “unscrupulous individuals” to the commission or to the Regulated Industries Complaints Office.

The RICO Consumer Resource Center can be reached at 808-587-4272 and via, while the Hawaii Real Estate Commission can be reached at 808-586-2643 or via

The Office of Consumer Protection and Regulated Industries Complaints Office has posted cautionary guidance regarding predatory real property purchase.

Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023 – 11 a.m.

Hawaiian Electric now reports that power lines in Upcountry have been repaired.

Work continues in West Maui, where facilities that provide essential needs are located.

And power has been restored to more than 80% of Maui customers who have been without electricity since last week.

Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023 – 9:30 a.m.

Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez said Thursday that she will ask a third-party private organization “with experience in emergency management and processes” to help assess the performance of state and county agencies preparing for and responding to the Maui wildfires.

Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)

“This will be an impartial, independent review,” Lopez said in a press release, to “ensure accountability and transparency and reassure the people of Hawaii that all of the facts will be uncovered.”

Lopez said the investigation will also offer “any necessary corrective action and to advance future emergency preparedness.”

The review, ordered by Gov. Josh Green, will likely take months.

“We will be taking the necessary time to follow the facts wherever they lead,” she said.

Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023 – 9:15 a.m.

More benefit concerts for Maui are scheduled. Here’s the latest, and it’s a great lineup:

Wiwoole Maui Benefit Concert, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., live-streamed from Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort.

Participating artists include Amy Hanaialii, Raiatea Helm, Ekolu — and many more — and several halau.

Wiwoole means “fearless, brave, bold and courageous.”

Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023 – 7:45 a.m.

FEMA on Thursday launched a website intended to “dispel myths, address rumors” and answers FAQs about the Hawaii wildfires. Examples:

  • “One rumor claims that if survivors apply for disaster assistance, FEMA may confiscate their property or land. This is completely false. The truth is that applying for disaster assistance does not grant FEMA or the federal government authority or ownership of your property or land.”
  • “Another rumor alleges that FEMA and the Red Cross are confiscating donations for Hawaii wildfire aid. The truth is that FEMA is coordinating donations with numerous nonprofit and voluntary organizations, including the Red Cross.’

For more information on the Hawaii wildfires, click here.

Honolulu Civil Beat reporter Jack Truesdale takes a phone call amid the destruction of Lahania town Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023, in Maui. Two days prior, a large, fast-moving wildfire consumed this historical West Maui town. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)
Lahaina Town. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023 – 6:45 a.m.

Gov. Josh Green and First Lady Jaime Kanani Green plan to go on Facebook Friday at 6 p.m. to provide “critical updates” on the response to the Maui Wildfires.

It will be broadcast on the governor’s Facebook page and feed will be made available through the LiveU Hawaii Media Pool.

For access, call Olelo Community Media at: (808) 834-0007, option 0.

Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023 – 4:15 p.m.

Here are some updates for federal relief in Maui:

  • U.S. Senator Brian Schatz says that the Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service now allows for a temporary waiver that allows Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — SNAP — participants across Hawaii “to purchase hot, ready-to-eat meals” by using their benefits. The waiver is effective immediately through Sept. 14 but is only works with SNAP-authorized retailers like grocery and convenience stores.
  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued regulatory and administrative waivers to allow the use HUD funding to help Maui and the Big Island “accelerate their recovery from the wildfires.” It Community Development Block Grant, HOME Investment Partnerships, Housing Trust Fund, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS, Emergency Solutions Grant and Continuum of Care.
  • And President Joe Biden OK’d the federal cost share for Hawaii to be increased from 75% to 100% for 30 days within the first 120 days of the state’s choosing. The major disaster declaration made federal funding available for debris removal and emergency protective measures in Maui County and assistance for emergency protective measures for Hawaii County.

Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023 – 3:20 p.m.

HECO crews work on utility lines as traffic builds to a standstill on Honoapiilani Highway as vehicles are turned onto the Lahaina Bypass Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023, in Lahaina. A wildfire destroyed the historic town of Lahaina last week. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)
HECO crews work on utility lines as traffic builds to a standstill on Honoapiilani Highway Wednesday. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

Hawaiian Electric says that, as of Wednesday morning, about 2,000 customers in West Maui remain without electricity.

Crews are working to install a second mobile substation to support restoration for the Launiuopoko to Olowalu areas.

In Upcountry, crews continue to respond to pocket outages for an estimated 60 customers.

Power has been restored to more than 80% of customers who have been without electricity since last Tuesday, when the wildfires on Maui started.

More than 100 utility poles will be needed to meet “restoration priorities,” HEI said in a press release.

Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023 – 1:40 p.m.

Gov. Josh Green said that the death toll from the Maui wildfires is now 110.

There are 30 cadaver dogs involved in the search efforts in Lahaina, up 10 from earlier, and 38% of the area has been searched.

The press conference in Wailuku included an appearance from Herman Andaya, who leads the Maui Emergency Management Agency.

Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023 – 11.45 a.m.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency opened its first Disaster Recovery Center on Maui Wednesday, a central hub for survivors to apply for federal disaster assistance and access services from federal, state and volunteer organizations.

The center is at University of Hawaii Maui College, 310 W. Kaahumanu Ave., in Kahului and will be open between 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week, a FEMA release said.

FEMA specialists will be staffing the center and can also provide access to operators who can assist in languages other than English.

U.S. Small Business Administration representatives will also be available to provide information on low-interest disaster loans. These are available to homeowners and renters as well as business owners and nonprofits, FEMA said.

For more information visit

Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023 – 10:45 a.m.

Maui water update: The Department of Water Supply says there is a water service outage in Kula on Holopuni Road until 1 p.m. Thursday due to a mainline repair. The outage affects Holopuni Road and the bottom portion of Pulehu Road.

Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023 – 10 a.m.

Here’s Gov. Josh Green and his trusty white board on the current situation.

Also, another press conference in Wailuku is set for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday with the governor, Maui Mayor Richard Bissen and Maui Emergency Management Agency and Dual Status Commander of Joint Task Force-50 Brigadier General Stephen Logan.

Primary topic: an update on the disaster response work on Maui. It will be live-streamed on the governor’s Facebook page

Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023 – 8 a.m.

FEMA says it as approved more than $2.3 million in assistance to 1,331 households impacted by the Maui wildfires, including more than $798,000 in initial rental assistance.

Here’s a few more new items from FEMA:

  • More than 4,400 survivors have registered for federal assistance and could be eligible for immediate resources such as hotel rooms or financial assistance.
  • The call line for survivors is open 24 hours a day — 800-621-3362 — by visiting or by using the FEMA App.
  • After you register, it’s possible to be approved for a one-time immediate payment of $700 for Critical Needs Assistance.
  • Later on Wednesday field teams in Hawaii will open a joint disaster recovery center where survivors can speak face-to-face with FEMA specialists.

Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023 – 7:30 a.m.

Hawaii tourism and other officials continue to send out the message that all non-essential travel to West Maui — including to Lahaina, Napili, Kaanapali and Kapalua — is “strongly discouraged” through the month of August.

Visitors at Halona Blow Hole enjoy the panoramic views of east part of Oahu.
Visitors at Halona Blow Hole on Oahu. (Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022)

But the Hawaii Tourism Authority wants the world to know that other parts of Maui — Kahului, Wailuku, Kihei, Wailea, Makena, Hana — remain open for visitor business.

The same goes for the other Hawaiian Islands: Kauai, Oahu, Lanai and Hawaai island remain open.

HTA: “We urge visitors to be especially mindful and respectful in our island home as our community continues through this tragedy.

Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023 – 7 a.m.

Here’s the latest on containment of the Maui fires, as of late Tuesday night, according to Maui County:

  • The Upcountry/Kula fire is now 75% contained — an estimated 678 acres. Hot spots remain in gulches, forests and other hard-to-reach places.
  • The Lahaina fire is still 85% contained — an estimated 2,170 acres. Multiple fire crews are assigned to monitor and address any flareups, and there are no active threats at this time.
  • The Pulehu/Kihei fire Remains 100% contained.
  • And the Puukolii/Kaanapali fire remains extinguished.

Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023 – 6 a.m.

Superintendent Keith Hayashi, legislators and Hawaii Department of Education leadership visited three school campuses Tuesday — Lahainaluna High, Lahaina Intermediate and Princess Nahienaena Elementary, each of which sustained minimal damage in the wildfire.

Lahainaluna High School is photographed Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023, in Lahaina. The campus was largely untouched by a large fire last week. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)
Lahainaluna High School was largely untouched by the fires. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

Crews will be clearing debris and testing air and water quality in the coming days, and reopening dates will be determined once each campus is confirmed safe.

The DOE is still considering options for students who attended King Kamehameha III Elementary, which was destroyed in the fire. It may set up a temporary satellite site in West Maui or send students to Princess Nahienaena Elementary.

The Department is encouraging displaced students to enroll at nearby public schools in the meantime. Other schools on Maui and a few off-island schools have so far signed up approximately 200 West Maui students, and nearly 100 applications have been received for the State Distance Learning Program.

Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023 – 4:45 a.m.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will fly to Maui on Monday, the White House announced.

The Bidens will “see firsthand the impacts of the wildfires and the devastating loss of life and land that has occurred on the island, as well as discuss the next steps in the recovery effort,” said White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. “The President continues to marshal a whole-of-government response to the deadly Maui fires, and he has committed to delivering everything that the people of Hawaii need from the federal government as they recover from this disaster.”

The president “has stayed closely in touch with FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, Hawaii senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz, as well as Hawaii Gov. Josh Green, who advised that the search and recovery efforts are expected to be at a stage early next week to allow for a presidential visit,” Jean-Pierre said.

Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023 – 5 p.m.

Gov. Josh Green said Tuesday afternoon via a Facebook press briefing that the Lahaina Bypass Road will open starting at 6 p.m.

From that time until 6 a.m., the road will be limited to residents, first responders and employees of West Maui. On Wednesday, the road will open to all motorists daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.


“We are trying to get back to normal,” he said.

The governor also said that the death count from the Maui wildfires had climbed to 101 and that the search for remains continues.

And he said his comments about rebuilding the area has been misconstrued. He said it was of “fundamental importance” to protect the land for local people, and he reiterated his request of his attorney general to watch for predatory practices.

And he also said he would deliver a “comprehensive address” Friday “of everything that’s gone on.”

Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023 – 4:15 p.m.

The Maui Police Department has identified the person detained Sunday for exiting a restricted area in Lahaina. Henore Letourneau, described as a 40-year-old white male from Waiehu, was subsequently arrested for Place to Keep Firearm, Promoting a Dangerous Drug in the Third Degree, and Criminal Trespass in the First Degree.

Maui Police Chief John Pelletier. (Screenshot/2023)

Letourneau was transported to the Wailuku Police Station for processing without further incident, and posted bail, which was set at $2,200.

A mug shot was still being processed Tuesday afternoon, but an internet search turns up Instagram, Facebook and other pages for a Henore Letourneau who appears to be a charter boat captain out of Lahaina.

You can listen to Maui Police Chief John Pelletier rather testy response to a question about the trespassing. Scroll to about the 1:02:25 mark.

Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023 – 3 p.m.

The Republic of Korea is donating $2 million to the state of Hawaii for to support Maui fire relief, recovery and humanitarian aid.

Consul General Lee Seo Young is scheduled to speak at a ceremonial exchange Wednesday morning at the office of Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke — that’s on the fifth floor of the Hawaii StateCapitol.

Around 50,000 Hawaii residents identify as Korean, including the LG.

Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023 – 1:45 p.m.

Tropical Storm Greg. (National Weather Service)

Tropical Storm Greg, which entered the Central Pacific Basin on Monday morning, is not expected to impact Maui or hinder recovery efforts, Maui Now reports. The source is a NOAA official.

Unlike Category 4 Hurricane Dora, which also passed well south of the islands, Greg is not expected to create high winds and dry air “that helped fuel the wildfires on Maui.”

Still, the National Weather Service warns that Maui remains in drought conditions that provide fuel for wildfires.

Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023 – 12 p.m.

Maui County has a fatality update: The number of confirmed deaths remains at 99, but four victims have now been identified, up from three yesterday.

The names will be released after their families are notified. Thirteen DNA profiles have been obtained from fatalities, and 41 DNA samples have been obtained from family of the missing. About 32 % of the area scorched by the wildfires has been searched so far.

To provide DNA samples, family members can go to the Family Assistance Center, open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kahului Community Center, 275 Uhu St.

Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023 – 11:40 a.m.

The University of Hawaii Maui College will not begin classes Aug. 21 — next Monday — as planned.

Instead, the 2023 Fall semester will begin Aug. 28.

The reason: to allow more time for individuals, families and communities to “consider their circumstances.”

UHMC advises clicking here for support or access to resources.

Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023 – 8:30 a.m.

Hawaii News Now reported Tuesday morning that, for the first time, President Joe Biden has confirmed that he plans to tour the disaster zone in Maui to “make sure that the victims have what they need.”

No definitive date has been set, but Biden said he’ll come to Hawaii “as soon as he can.”

The president said he doesn’t want to disrupt recovery efforts. He also said Hawaii will “have everything it needs” in the wake of deadly wildfires that have devastated Maui, calling it “the deadliest wildfire in more than 100 years.”

Biden spoke on the “whole-on-government” response effort in Maui at the beginning of his remarks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Maui.”

Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023 – 8 a.m.

Barack Obama, the former U.S. president born in Hawaii, is asking folks to donate to the Hawaii Red Cross. His website includes links to other groups taking donations.

“It will take all of us coming together and doing what we can to help those in need in Maui and Lahaina right now,” he said in a video message.

Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023 – 6:40 a.m.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority says that the Assistance Center at the Hawaii Convention Center has been relocated to the Keehi Lagoon Memorial Hall at 2685 N. Nimitz Highway in Honolulu.

The center is operated in partnership with the American Red Cross to support those evacuated from Maui due to the wildfires. Evacuees are provided with temporary accommodations until they are able to board flights to return home or secure their own lodging.

Support includes Water and food, showers, toiletries and clothes, if needed — all free of charge. 
Free shuttles from the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport to the Keehi Lagoon Memorial Hall are running throughout the day and can be found outside of baggage claim 9 and baggage claim 20.

Officials planned for as many as 4,000 evacuees. The center has served 300 since opening Aug. 9

Monday, Aug. 14, 2023 – 10 p.m.

Maui County officials say the Upcountry/Kula fire is about 65% contained and the Lahaina fire is 85% contained. Other fires that had been burning last week on Maui were fully contained or extinguished.

Abandoned vehicles serve as a testament to the speed of the Lahaina fire. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)

The number of dead from the Lahaina fire remained at 99 on Monday night but the toll is expected to go up as more of the area is searched. Only three people have been identified and Maui Police Chief John Pelletier said Monday there are no fingerprints for the other 96 bodies.

Police planned to begin releasing the names of the dead on Tuesday, posting the identities of people whose families have been notified. The list will be updated daily if new information is available.

Power had been restored as of late Monday to all but 2,000 Hawaiian Electric customers in West Maui. Another 2,000 homes and businesses were destroyed in Lahaina.

Monday, Aug. 14, 2023 – 6:30 p.m.

A statewide live concert to benefit Maui fire victims is set for 6 p.m. Sunday.

Maui Ola: A Benefit Concert for Maui” is at the Bishop Museum but will be broadcast on platforms including, local TV stations — KGMB, KHNL KFVE, KHNL, KITV, KIKU, KHII, KHON, PBS Hawaii — radio stations including 92.3 KSSK, Island 98.5, Hawaiian 105 KINE, KCCN FM100, KQMQ, HI93 FM, KAPA Hawaiian FM, KPUA 670 AM, KWXX 94.7 FM, KAOY 101.5 FM, KNWB 97.1 FM, KMWB 93.1, CBS 1500 and other websites including, ESPN Honolulu, and Honolulu Magazine.

The broadcast will also feature performances from the Maui Ola concert on Hawaii island. That’s Sunday at Parker Ranch Shopping Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tickets for the Oahu event are available at and 100% of proceeds will support Maui’s impacted communities through donation portals including Maui United WayHawaii Community FoundationHawaii People’s Fund and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.

So far the volunteer lineup includes Hawaiian Style Band, Pure Heart, Jerry Santos, Raiatea Helm, Paula Fuga, Kimie Miner, Anuhea, Del Beazley, the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra and musicians and cultural practitioners with ties to Maui. More details are available at

Monday, Aug. 14, 2023 – 5:15 p.m.

Hawaiian Electric said Monday afternoon that it had restored power to about 80% of the Maui customers who have been without electricity since the fires started Tuesday.

Crews, according to a press release, are continuing response efforts to restore about 100 customers in Upcountry and approximately 2,300 customers in West Maui.

“This estimated outage count has been adjusted downward to account for structures that were damaged or destroyed,” HEI said.

Few structures remain at the southern section of Front Street. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)

In West Maui, the focus continues to be “safely restoring areas that provide essential public services as well as facilities serving first responders and the emergency response efforts.”

That includes services and resources such as water, wastewater, gas stations, and hotels that are being planned for temporary shelter.

Earlier Monday, crews restored power to the Lahaina Civic Center and are working to bring other emergency response facilities in the area back online. Crews also completed the installation of the mobile substation in the Lahainaluna area and are working to bring it online to restore power to homes, schools and county facilities mauka of the Lahaina Bypass Road.

Ongoing damage assessments in West Maui have identified about 400 poles out of 750 and 300 out of 575 transformers that are visibly damaged. The Lahaina substation also was destroyed. In Upcountry, crews are continuing to repair neighborhood circuits and individual service lines.

Monday, Aug. 14, 2023 – 4:15 p.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard in Hawaii has shifted its response to the Maui wildfires to now focus on maritime environment, although officials say they are ready to respond to any new reports of individuals in the water.

The guard has deployed pollution response teams and equipment including a 100-foot boom placed at the mouth of the Lahaina Harbor to contain potential hazardous contaminants and materials.

The U.S. Coast Guard patrolling Lahaina waters. (U.S. Coast Guard/2023)

It also has a safety zone established from Wahikuli Wayside Park to Launiupoko Beach Park, extending one nautical mile seaward from the shoreline.

The safety zone, enforced by the guard’s Maritime Safety and Security Team Honolulu, remains in effect as potential hazards in the waterway are still being evaluated.

And guard divers in coordination with NOAA are using sonar and a submersible vehicle to map the Lahaina Channel and coastline off Lahaina in order to detect hazards that would make the channel unsafe for passage.

For mariners with questions on transit of the safety zone, owners of vessels impacted by the Lahaina fires, and reports of pollution in and around Lahaina Harbor, call 808-723-0008. For all other questions or concerns contact the Maui Emergency Operations Center at (808) 205-9328.

Monday, Aug. 14, 2023 – 3 p.m.

There is new information on health care for Lahaina.

The Maui District Health Office on Monday opened a coordinated health clinic in West Maui to assist people directly impacted by the devastating wildfires. The clinic will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The main clinic will be located at the Comprehensive Health Center on Akoakoa Place, located below the Lahaina Civic Center. Clinic services will include general wound care and first aid, pharmacy services, mental health services and other general health care.

Participating community partners include Malama I Ke Ola, Hui No Ke Ola Pono, Mauliola Pharmacy, American Medical Response and Minit Medical. Limited translation services will be available in Ilocano and Tagalog.

No appointment is necessary for clinic services and insurance is not required. Mobile services operating out of the main clinic will also be available where care is needed and requested. For more information, call 808-984-8201 or 808-984-8260.

Monday, Aug. 14, 2023 – 2 p.m.

Charter Communications has opened more than 8,000 Spectrum Out-of-Home WiFi access points across Hawaii to aid the Maui wildfire response.

Charter is providing free unlimited Spectrum WiFi access at four venues serving as community resource centers: War Memorial Gymnasium, Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center, War Memorial Stadium and Iron Maehara Stadium.

Spectrum Mobile devices and devices with the Spectrum WiFi profile installed will auto-connect without any action required. Here are the steps for connecting to Spectrum WiFi:

  1. Enable WiFi under device settings when near an access point which is broadcasting “Spectrum Free Trial”
  2. Select “Spectrum Free Trial”
  3. The browser will open automatically
  4. Agree to Terms & Conditions and click “Agree & Connect”

Monday, Aug. 14, 2023 – 11:30 a.m.

Just hours after announcing its implementation, the Maui Police Department has suspended the placard program for travel into West Maui.

The reason is overwhelming demand from non-essential individuals and non-Maui residents. 

Police said the suspension is until further notice.

Monday, Aug. 14, 2023 – 11 a.m.

The Federal Emergency Management Association now has more than 300 people on the ground in Hawaii in an effort to help displaced residents get assistance with immediate housing needs and to apply for more cash assistance as they asses their losses.

The agency has handed out 50,000 meals, 75,000 liters of water, 5,000 cots and 10,000 blankets, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at a press briefing this morning.

FEMA plans to stand up a one-stop shopping “disaster recovery center” in the next few days and will release more information. People who need HEMA help should go to to apply.

Monday, Aug. 14, 2023 – 10 a.m.

Maui County issued this update on the fires as of Monday mid morning:

  • Upcountry/Kula fire (initially reported Aug. 8): Now 60% contained. Estimated 678 acres. Hot spots in gulches and other hard to reach places, along with land divisions and fences, make establishment of complete control lines difficult. During daylight hours on Monday air support will be deployed to hit hot spots.
  • Lahaina fire (initially reported Aug. 8): 85% contained. Estimated 2,170 acres. Multiple fire crews are assigned to monitor and address any flareups. There are no active threats at this time.
  • Pulehu/Kihei fire (initially reported Aug. 8): Remains 100% contained. The Pulehu/Kihei fire was declared 100% contained Saturday. Fire personnel are staying vigilant for flare-ups. There are no active threats at this time.
  • Puukolii / Kaanapali fire (initially reported Aug. 11): One acre. Extinguished Aug. 12. Remains extinguished.

Monday, Aug. 14, 2023 – 9:30 a.m.

The Hawaii Department of Education says that most public schools in Upcountry, South and Central Maui will begin phased reopenings starting Monday.

The reopening begins with school staff reporting to campuses. Hana High and Elementary remains open.

DOE Superintendent Keith T. Hayashi. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)

Monday, Aug. 14, 2023 – 8 a.m. facilities are still being assessed and will remain closed to both students and staff until the campus can be fully evaluated.

For the latest on Maui schools, click here.

Superintendent Keith Hayashi has shared a message with students, families, teachers, administrators and staff at Lahaina schools. He says in part, “We are establishing a dedicated phone line to help answer questions from staff and families. Mental health supports — in person and telehealth counseling — are also being set up for employees and students.”

Resources can be found by clicking here. And click here to read the full message from Hayashi.

Monday, Aug. 14, 2023 – 8 a.m.

Maui Now reports that there are now at least three different providers actively aiding in medical response to the needs of those in the West Maui community.

Kaiser Permanente outpatient health and medical clinics will operate from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at:

  • Lahaina Gateway: Mobile Health Vehicle providing first aid, pediatric services, and OB/GYN services. OB/GYN services begin Monday and will be offered every Friday beginning Aug. 18.
  • Napili Park: First Aid Station providing first aid and pediatric services.
  • Hyatt Regency Lahaina, Lahaina Ballroom: First Aid Station providing first aid services.
A fire-damaged restaurant in Lahaina. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)

As well, Maui Health clinicians and physicians from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday will provide first-aid, wound care, health and wellness checks pharmacy services, including baby formula for all community members in need, regardless of health insurance, at Lahaina Gateway and Napili Park.

And Minit Medical is opening urgent care in the Lahaina Gateway Monday morning.  The group will be working directly with Mauiola Pharmacy to get prescriptions out to patients immediately in West Maui.  Staff can also care for all other urgent care needs.

Monday, Aug. 14, 2023 – 7 a.m.

Maui County has issued an update on road closures:

To expedite travel into West Maui, a system using access placards began Monday morning, to ensure efficient traffic management and prioritize the safety of all road users.

Placards will be issued based on the following categories: West Maui residents; West Maui resort personnel; first responder personnel; medical personnel; utility personnel; county personnel; supply transport personnel; volunteer personnel. For details, visit the Maui Police Department website. 

Here’s the latest on roads:

  • Access into West Maui via Kahakuloa for West Maui residents: Open. 
  • Access into West Maui via Maalaea: Restricted for pre-approved. 
  • Exit West Maui via Maalaea: Open. 
  • Exit West Maui via Kahakuloa: Closed.

Monday, Aug. 14, 2023 – 5:15 a.m.

Gov. Josh Green issued an emergency proclamation on Sunday freeing up more funding for the emergency response and making it easier for health care providers to help people displaced by the fire.

The order allows pharmacists to refill prescriptions for people directly impacted by the blaze — even if they can’t reach a medical provider to get authorization to do so. It also shields health care facilities and other first professional first responders from civil liability during the response, except in cases of “willful misconduct, gross negligence, or recklessness.”

It is Green’s fifth emergency proclamation related to the fires.

Wahikuli residents move bottled water Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023, north of Lahaina town and south of Kaanapali. A large fire consumed areas of West Maui last week. Utilities have not been fully restored. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)
Wailuku residents move bottled water Sunday north of Lahaina town and south of Kaanapali. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023 – 9:45 p.m.

Three more fatalities from the wildfires on Maui were confirmed on Sunday, raising the total to 96, according to the Maui Police Department.

County officials also announced that access placards would be required to enter the hardest-hit area of West Maui, beginning Monday. The goal is to better control traffic and “prioritize the safety of all road users,” according to an update on Instagram.

Residents, resort personnel, first responders, medical and county personnel, utility and supply transport workers and volunteers will be eligible to get the placards, it said.

Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023 – 5 p.m.

Maui County says that there have been 19 homes destroyed in the Upcountry/Kula wildfire that started Aug. 8. Three homes were destroyed in Olinda and 16 were leveled in Kula.

Many other homes sustained damage, but the total number of homes destroyed are not yet available as the fire remains active. There are three helicopters, four engines, two tankers and one utility on-site.

Hot spots in gulches and other hard to reach places, along with land divisions and fences, make this a difficult fire to contain, according to officials.

When a fire is 100% contained, it does not mean it has been extinguished. It means that firefighters have the blaze fully surrounded by a perimeter, and the fire can still burn. Once a fire is declared “extinguished,” then it’s over.

Meantime, here’s Gov. Josh Green in a video update Sunday afternoon regarding the Maui fires.


Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023 – 3 p.m.

Maui County officials say the Upcountry/Kula fire which erupted on Tuesday morning is about 60% contained, and has affected about 678 acres.

Hot spots remain in gulches and other hard-to-reach places, which is making this a difficult fire to contain.

Maui wildfires
Wildfire destroyed an historic redwood home at Kula Sandalwoods Cafe and Inn in Upcountry. (Brittany Lyte/Civil Beat/2023)

The Lahaina fire which also started Tuesday and then broke containment Tuesday evening is reported to be 85% contained, affecting about 2,170 acres, the county said.

Two other Maui fires — the Pulehu/Kihei fire and the Puukolii fire, which was reported Thursday — are either 100% contained or extinguished, the county said.

The number of confirmed fatalities was still 93 as of Sunday afternoon, although that count is expected to rise as search and rescue teams continue to sift through Lahaina rubble.

Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023 – 1 p.m.

As areas are deemed safe to access, Hawaiian Telcom is restoring phone and internet to customers on Maui whose services were impacted by the wildfires:

  • Connectivity has been restored to about 10,000 customers in Kula and Makawao, and to several cell sites in Hosmer Grove, the company said Sunday.
  • Phone service is now available at the shelter at the War Memorial Gym and Hawaiian Telcom is working to install 1 gigabit speed fiber internet service via WiFi.
  • Hawaiian Telcom technicians are also working to add phone and WiFi service at the shelter at the Kihei Gym.
  • Customers in areas such as Lahaina, Napili and Kaanapali can request to have calls to their Hawaiian Telcom landline numbers forwarded free of charge to another phone number.
  • Customers can call a new toll-free number created to assist Maui residents: (808) 643-MAUI (6284) or click here to submit an online request.

And the company is also working to pause billing charges for customers affected by the wildfires. Click here for its Maui wildfire updates.

Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023 – 1 p.m.

The Hawaii State Bar Association will host a free legal hotline beginning this week and next as a community service to aid people affected by the wildfires.

The assistance is for residents of Maui, the Big Island and any others who have been adversely affected.

The bar said Sunday that volunteer attorney will be available to answer questions on issues such as document replacement, insurance claims process, landlord-tenant matters and other issues.

  • WHEN: Tuesday, Aug 15 & 22; Wednesday, Aug. 16 & 23; Thursday, Aug. 17 & 24
  • TIME: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • CALL: Toll Free (888) 533-2773.

The service is sponsored by the HSBA in collaboration with the HSBA Young Lawyers Division, the Maui County Bar Association and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii.

Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023 – 11:30 a.m.

Shipping company Matson said Sunday that it delivered FEMA and Hawaii Food Industry Association supplies to Maui. They chartered an extra barge, Columbia, from Honolulu that arrived in Kahului carrying 32 large generators — including two 30,000-pound units — one 84,000-pound trailer generator set and four 40-foot containers of bottled water to Maui for FEMA.

Matson container ship leaves Honolulu Harbor as surfers ride waves. sept 2014. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
A Matson container ship leaving Honolulu Harbor. (Cory Lum/Civl Beat/2015)

Also onboard were four generators provisioned by the Lieutenant Governor’s Office and three 40-foot refrigerated containers — two containing perishable food and one filled with ice — sent by the HFIA.
Matson is also transporting one diesel generator to provide extra support for refrigerated containers in its Kahului Terminal, and 30 chassis trailers to support anticipated additional cargo volumes on Maui.

The arrival Sunday morning was in addition to its normal schedule Friday morning, when it delivered 191 containers of goods to Kahului Harbor. Cargo operations continue uninterrupted and unaffected by the wildfires in other areas of the island, and Matson’s twice weekly service to Maui continues as normal.

To expedite the movement of disaster response and emergency cargo, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission is allowing Matson to temporarily carry disaster response and relief goods and equipment between Honolulu and Maui.

Nonprofit organizations needing assistance in getting relief goods to Maui are asked to apply for such assistance on the company’s website.

Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023 – 10:30 a.m.

FEMA encourages all residents impacted by the #MauiFires to register for federal assistance. Survivors with limited phone or internet access can register with our in-person disaster assistance teams.

Meanwhile, as of Sunday, here are other updates from FEMA:

  • The Federal Aviation Administration has flight restrictions in place in Maui to assist emergency response efforts.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting underwater surveys of the Lahaina harbor using sonar technology to identify structural damage.
  • The U.S. Department of State granted a fee waiver for people who lost their U.S. passport book or passport card as a result of the wildfires in Hawaii.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service approved Hawaii’s request for impacted Child Nutrition Programs and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.
  • The USDA is also coordinating pet reunification activities on the ground and is assessing ability to supply food and water to large animals in Lahaina.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services approved a public health emergency effective Aug. 8 through Nov. 6, which provides greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries in Hawaii.
  • The American Red Cross and Maui County continue to staff and support six shelters where food, water, hygiene kits and other essential resources are provided to survivors who are unable to return home.
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is actively conducting assessments of critical infrastructure and communications systems and coordinating with private sector partners to establish temporary communications solutions.
  • FEMA mission assigned debris management and temporary emergency power to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help clear up roads and stabilize electric service as well as the Environmental Protection Agency for household hazardous waste removal activities that are essential to begin recovery work in the impacted areas. USACE also completed its initial hazardous materials assessment in Maui.

For more information on the Hawaii wildfires, visit

Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023 – 6:37 a.m.

Aloha Tower in Honolulu will be lit in Maui’s official color throughout the month of August in mourning for those lost from the Maui wildfires, according to the state Department of Transportation.

(Gov. Josh Green/2023)

Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023 – 10 p.m.

The official tally of the number of people killed in the Maui wildfires increased to 93 on Saturday, with two of them identified, according to an update from Maui County.

The fact that only two people were identified underscores the difficulties facing search and recovery crews who must carefully pick through rubble as more than 2,000 buildings were destroyed or damaged.

Maui officials urged people with missing family members to do a DNA test for authorities.

The county has set up a family assistance center at the Kahului Community Center to coordinate efforts to find people who remain unaccounted for.

“We need to find your loved ones,” Maui Police Chief John Pelletier said earlier Saturday during a news conference at which the death toll was raised to 89.

“The remains we’re finding is through a fire that melted metal. We have to do rapid DNA to identify every one of these 89.”

Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023 – 9 p.m.

On Sunday, Maui County will begin operating free shuttle service from shelters to shopping destinations and medical facilities in Central Maui.

The shuttle will be available to people who are staying at any county shelter, including War Memorial Gymnasium in Wailuku, King’s Cathedral in Kahului and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kahului.

The shuttle is on-demand and will operate between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., the county said.

Call Roberts Hawaii for reservations at (808) 871-4838. 

Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023 – 8 p.m.

The Maui-Lanai passenger ferry has resumed operations after debris was cleared from the Maalaea Small Boat Harbor, state officials said Saturday.

The Lanai passenger ferry (Alana Eagle/Civil Beat)
The Lanai-Maui passenger ferry (Alana Eagle/Civil Beat/2016)

Expeditions, the company that operates the ferry, expects to offer ferry services on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to provide transportation for service providers and first responders, according to a press release.

“To the extent the demand is higher from the first responder groups or the community, additional routes will be added,” the company wrote in an e-mail to the state. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission was informed of the reinstatement of the Maalaea to Manele route and acknowledged the change on Friday.

Nearly 100 vessels were moored in the Lahaina Small Boat Harbor before fire swept through the historic town, but only seven remain above water, Ed Underwood, administrator of the state Division of Boating and Ocean Recreations said in a press release.

The new ferry dock at Lahaina appears to have withstood the flames, he said.

Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023 – 5 p.m.

The death toll from the wildfire that left Lahaina in ruins rose from 80 to 89 on Saturday, making it the deadliest U.S. wildfire in decades. Gov. Josh Green announced the new number at a press conference after touring the historic town in Maui.

The number of dead surpassed the 85 people killed in the 2018 Camp Fire in northern California, and officials warned it was expected to rise.

Meanwhile, Maui search crews got reinforcements with federal teams and sniffer dogs deploying in the area.

Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023 – 2:49 p.m.

Maui County says that access to Lahaina Town and West Maui is open for area residents who are being allowed to enter the area through Waihee and leave through Maalaea.

But residents must show proof of residency through a driver’s license or state identification card with a West Maui address.

Travel into West Maui on Honoapiilani Highway through Maalaea is limited to emergency operations including transporting supplies and personnel. Access into West Maui through Maalaea requires official authorization from emergency operations officials.

But Honoapiilani Highway is open for vehicles leaving West Maui through Maalaea.

Still, the public is required to stay out of the area, where search-and-rescue operations are underway, “as there are loved ones whose families have not been notified yet and possible hazards, including toxic particles from smoldering areas.”

Important note: If your home or former home is in the affected area, you will not be allowed to visit until the affected area has been declared safe by Hazmat teams after the recovery has been completed.

Anyone entering the disaster area is subject to a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023 – 1:45 p.m.

HEI crews working to restore power on Maui. (Hawaiian Electric/2023)

Hawaiian Electric has restored power to one of three main transmission lines serving West Maui, bringing service back to some 3,700 customers in Napili, Puukolii and Mahinahina, where essential public services such as water pumps, and first responder facilities are located.

Hawaiian Electric said in a press release Saturday that employees and contractors are working to bring power back to additional areas of West Maui as well as Upcountry. Employees from Oahu, Hawaii island, Molokai and Lanai are also providing additional response resources.

On Saturday, crews worked to set up a mobile substation at the damaged Lahainaluna substation to help restore power to customers in the neighboring subdivision, which includes homes, three schools and county water facilities. Crews are also working to replace some of the estimated 40 poles and other equipment damaged by the fire and high wind.

Additional damage assessments by helicopter in the air and on the ground are being conducted and extensive restoration repairs are continuing in areas that are safe and accessible.

After the power comes back on, there may be intermittent outages.

Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023 – 11:49 a.m.

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green, Maui Mayor Richard Bissen and federal officials will discuss ongoing disaster response and access to relief for residents and local small businesses at a 4:30 p.m. press conference Saturday in Wailuku.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman and U.S. Fire Administrator Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell will also be on hand.

The event is for invited guests and media only, but the news conference will be live-streamed on the governor’s Facebook page.

Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023 – 9:30 a.m.

U.S. Rep. Jill Tokuda said that Hawaii representatives are going to need to push hard for supplemental disaster recovery funds from the federal budget in the wake of the Maui wildfires.

“Going into the budget, this wasn’t on the map. Now it is. It’s going to require our delegation to fight like hell,” Tokuda said.

Tokuda, who represents the 2nd Congressional District, made the comments in the air heading to Kahului Airport Saturday morning after cutting short a trip to Israel.

U.S. Rep Jill Tokuda, right, at Kahului Airport on Maui, with FEMA staff member, heading out to join an inspection of wildfire damage. (Jack Truesdale/Civil Beat/2023)

Tokuda also wants top federal agency administrators to visit Maui for themselves in order to fully assess what has happened. “I think it’s hard to see if you’re not on the ground.” She was heading out to join FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell on an inspection tour. 

“I would actually want someone like (Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier) Becerra, to come,” she said.

Her immediate priority is helping the people whose lives have been destroyed.

“I have friends that have lost homes. I talked to friends who lost family members and we’ve taken, I don’t know, how many calls in our office from people who are still looking,” she said. “We can’t act fast enough.”

Tokuda said she has also been consulting with congressional colleagues from other states impacted by disasters for advice. 

Next Saturday her office is hosting a satellite town hall in Kihei to help people fill out documents and get them emergency aid.

Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023 – 8:08 a.m.

More than a dozen federal agencies and departments are mobilized to assist state, county, nonprofit and private sector partners to help the people of Hawaii with recent devastating wildfires. Here is the latest as of Saturday morning:

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency has deployed more than 150 FEMA personnel, including search and rescue teams, with more on the way. Disaster Survivor Assistance teams are in Maui on Saturday to help residents register for assistance and address any critical needs in the affected neighborhoods.
  • Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Beccera declared a public health emergency in Hawaii, which allows health care providers and suppliers greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration activated the national disaster distress hotline. Professional counselors are available for anyone in Hawaii who may need it. They can be reached via call or text at 1-800-985-5990. 
  • The U.S. Small Business Administration encourages homeowners, renters, businesses and nonprofits to apply for low interest disaster loans. Businesses can apply for up to $2 million for physical damage or economic injury. During her visit today, SBA Administrator Guzman will visit with local small business owners to discuss resources available to support their recovery.
  • The American Red Cross has mobilized volunteers who are focused on providing shelter, food and other necessities to survivors who are unable to return home, as well as helping with family reunification efforts. They are also deploying reunification teams in Maui and Oahu.
  • The Salvation Army is providing thousands of meals to individuals and families at the Maui County Pukalani Shelter.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has personnel on the ground supporting local officials with the assessment of the damaged infrastructure.
  • The National Guard has activated 134 troops — including 99 Army National Guard personnel and 35 Air National Guard personnel — to assist in the in the ongoing local and federal wildfire response efforts.
  • Through its response and rescue operations, the U.S. Coast Guard has saved 17 lives, with 40 additional survivors located and assisted ashore by U.S. Coast Guard Station Maui.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working on pet reunification and large-animal removal.
  • The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs is working with Veteran Affairs hospital patients to ensure that they have enough supplies, like oxygen.
  • The U.S. Department of the Interior is coordinating with FEMA and other federal and local partners to address the tragic loss of the Lahaina Historic District and National Historic Landmark.
A wheelchair remains at the Hale Mahaolu Eono grounds Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023, in Lahaina. The kapuna residence was destroyed in a fast moving wildfire Tuesday night.  (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)
A destroyed wheelchair at the Hale Mahaolu Eono grounds Thursday in Lahaina. The kupuna residence was destroyed. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

If they can, FEMA encourages Hawaii residents to register for federal assistance by visiting, through the FEMA App, or by calling 1-800-621-3362. Residents who use a relay service, such as video relay or captioned telephone service, can give the FEMA operator the number for that service.  

As response and recovery efforts continue, Hawaii residents and tourists should continue to monitor instructions from local authorities. 

For more information on the Hawaii wildfires, click here

Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023 – 7 a.m.

The Pacific Disaster Center and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have released the following damage assessment maps from multiple wildfires in Maui County:

According to PDC, as of Friday, damage assessments related to the Lahaina Fire resulted in an estimated total of 2,719 structures exposed; 2,207 structures damaged or destroyed; and 2,170 acres burned. And 86% of buildings exposed to the fire were classified as residential.

Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023 – 6:25 a.m.

Here are the latest updates as of early Saturday, according to Maui County:

  • Firefighters continue working to extinguish flare-ups and contain fires in Lahaina, Pulehu/Kihei and Upcountry Maui.
  • A Kaanapali fire reported above Puukolii at 6:10 p.m. Friday was reported to be 100% contained before 8:30 p.m. The fire is in the area where a county fueling station was positioned Friday to distribute an estimated 3,000 gallons of gas and 500 gallons of diesel for an estimated 400 vehicles that were lined up before the operation began. No fuel will be distributed Saturday.
  • Police are restricting access into West Maui through both Maalaea and Waihee. Honoapiilani Highway is open for vehicles leaving Lahaina. The burned historic Lahaina town area remains barricaded, with people warned to stay out of the area due to hazards including toxic particles from smoldering areas. Wearing a mask and gloves is advised.
  • Volunteers are distributing food, water and other supplies at Napili Plaza.
  • Food, water, toiletries, canned goods, diapers, baby formula, clothing and pet food will be distributed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Lahaina Gateway Center.
  • Donations of non-perishable food, bottled water and hygiene items will be accepted from 8 a.m. to 6 pm. Saturday at the War Memorial Complex field in Wailuku. No clothing is being accepted.
  • Family Assistance Center for family members who are looking for information about loved ones who are unaccounted for will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Kahului Community Center.
  • The county Department of Transportation is coordinating buses to transport people staying at emergency shelters to the county Department of Motor Vehicles and Licensing, which will be open for special hours from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday so shelter occupants can have their driver’s licenses and state identification cards reissued. Fees will be waived. County employees are volunteering to work to open the department.
  • On Friday, a total of 1,418 people were emergency evacuation shelters at War Memorial Gymnasium, Hannibal Tavares Community Center, Maui High School, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Maui Lani, Kings Cathedral Church and Grace Bible Church.
  • For organizations and individuals wishing to offer services or donations to aid in the county rescue and relief efforts, an online tool is available. Information can be provided at this link to be used to help organize and deploy resources.

Additional cellphone services are becoming available in West Maui. West Maui residents are encouraged to limit phone calls and video streaming services in order to free up bandwidth with telecommunication providers. Cellphone users are reminded to text, not talk so everyone can share the limited resources.

A boat maneuvers in Lahania Harbor Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023, in Lahaina. The historical town was destroyed by a wildfire Tuesday night. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)
A boat maneuvers in Lahaina Harbor Thursday in Lahaina. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

Friday, Aug. 11, 2023 – 10 p.m.

The death toll from the Maui wildfires rose to 80 Friday as firefighters battled persistent fires in Lahaina, Pulehu/Kihei and Upcountry Maui, according to the latest update from Maui County.

Meanwhile, fuel supplies were interrupted after a new fire broke out at 6:10 p.m. Friday above Puukolii near a fueling station that had been positioned to distribute about 3,000 gallons of gas and 500 gallons of diesel to a line of an estimated 400 vehicles. The fire was reported to be 100% contained after more than two hours, but the county said no fuel would be distributed on Saturday.

More than 1,400 people were at emergency evacuation shelters at War Memorial Gymnasium, Hannibal Tavares Community Center, Maui High School, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Maui Lani, Kings Cathedral Church and Grace Bible Church, according to the county’s website.

Donations poured into Maui Preparatory Academy, a supplies distribution center in Lahaina. (Brittany Lyte/Civil Beat/2023)

Friday. Aug 11, 2023 – 8:00 p.m.

Dialysis patients in areas of Maui affected by the wildfires are still receiving treatment, but many have to travel to different locations outside of the hardest-hit areas.

Wade Ebersole, chief operating officer of Maui Health System, said the organization was coordinating with community providers and Kaiser Permanente to make sure known dialysis patients were continuing to receive care.

Rainbow Dialysis Lahaina was destroyed by the fires, and Fresenius Kidney Care in Kahana is temporarily closed because of the power outage, according to the Department of Health.

Shannon Pyle, center manager at Rainbow Dialysis in Wailuku, said the clinic has been treating 15 additional patients who usually visit the Lahaina location. The Wailuku clinic is about an hour’s drive from Lahaina. Pyle said many of the patients had already gone east after evacuating the Lahaina area.

“All dialysis providers are working together to ensure patients receive treatment,” the Department of Health said in an emailed statement. “Centers are allowing walk-ins to maximize access and accommodate difficulties with communication and transportation. They are also collaborating to check shelters and transport patients to their appointments.”

Friday, Aug 11, 2023 – 5:43 p.m.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra declared a Public Health Emergency for the state of Hawaii to address the health impacts of the wildfires. The declaration follows President Biden’s major disaster declaration and gives the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ health care providers and suppliers greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

HHS’ Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response has deployed disaster response personnel from the National Disaster Medical System to Hawaii to address the health impacts of the wildfires.

HHS’ ASPR deployed an initial team of 13 responders to support emergency response efforts in Hawaii. Responders include an assessment team from the NDMS Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team and other public health response personnel.

Friday, Aug 11, 2023 – 5:25 p.m.

Most public schools in Upcountry, South and Central Maui will begin phased reopenings during the week of Aug. 14-17, beginning with school staff reporting to campuses. Friday Aug. 18 is a state holiday.

With the exception of King Kekaulike High School, all Upcountry, South and Central Maui school staff will return to campuses on Monday. King Kekaulike High School facilities are still being assessed and will remain closed to both students and staff until the campus can be fully evaluated.

The Hawaii Department of Education’s four public school campuses in Lahaina will remain closed next week. The DOE is working with emergency response officials to gain access to the area as soon as safely possible to assess the scope and degree of damage to each of the schools.

Friday, Aug 11, 2023 – 3:13 p.m.

The County of Maui Department of Water Supply is issuing an unsafe water alert for areas of Upper Kula and Lahaina affected by wildfires. As a precaution, customers in those areas are advised not to drink and not to boil their water. Instead of tap water, customers are advised to use only bottled water for drinking, brushing teeth, making ice and preparing food.

The advisory is in effect until further notice.

Upcountry wildfires on Maui seen from the air Wednesday. (Jack Truesdale/Civil Beat/2023)

Failure to follow this advisory could result in illness, according to the department and state Department of Health. Due to the wildfires, structures were destroyed and some areas of the water system lost pressure. Those conditions may have caused harmful contaminants, including benzene and other volatile organic chemicals, to enter the water system.

Customers are advised to:

  • Limit the use of hot water
  • Limit shower and bathing time and use lukewarm water and a ventilated area
  • Use a dishwasher to wash dishes and use the air dry setting
  • Wash clothing in cold water
  • Avoid using clothes dryers
  • Not use hot tubs or swimming pools
  • Not use ice from automatic ice makers
  • Use proper ventilation when using water indoors

For more information, call (808) 270-7550.

Friday, Aug 11, 2023 – 3:01 p.m.

Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez has announced that the Department of the Attorney General will be conducting “a comprehensive review” of critical decision-making and standing policies leading up to, during, and after the wildfires on Maui and Hawaii islands this week.

“The Department of the Attorney General shares the grief felt by all in Hawaiʻi, and our hearts go out to everyone affected by this tragedy,” Lopez said in a press release Friday afternoon. “My Department is committed to understanding the decisions that were made before and during the wildfires and to sharing with the public the results of this review. As we continue to support all aspects of the ongoing relief effort, now is the time to begin this process of understanding.”

Friday, Aug 11, 2023 – 1:22 p.m.

Maui County reported that the fatality count due to the wildfires has now grown to 67. Firefighting efforts also for the active Lahaina fire, which is not yet contained.

 No other details are available at this time.

Friday, Aug 11, 2023 – 12:19 p.m.

Residents will be allowed to return to the hard-hit area of Lahaina for the first time starting at noon on Friday, Maui County said. It will be the first opportunity for many to see their homes as wildfires tore through the historic town earlier this week, killing at least 55 people. Hundreds of houses and businesses were burned to the ground.

The access point will be Maalaea and security measures will be in place to secure the heavily impacted area, according to a press release.

A mark on a Front Street building is photographed Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023, in Lahaina. The marking indicates no people were located in the building on an initial, no-entry search. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)
A mark on a Front Street building is photographed Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023, in Lahaina. The marking indicates no people were located in the building on an initial, no-entry search. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

Those who want access to the area must show proof of residency or hotel reservations, according to a press release from the county. No unauthorized access beyond the barricaded areas will be allowed and a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew will be imposed daily in the affected areas.

“The curfew is intended to protect residences and property,” the county said.

“West Maui remains without power and water, and search crews continue efforts in the Lahaina town area for victims of the brush fire,” it added. “Limited access into Lahaina, with no access into the restricted zone of historic Lahaina town, will be in effect until hazardous conditions improve.”

Friday, Aug 11, 2023 – 12:15 p.m.

Billionaire Jeff Bezos pledged $100 million dollars to Maui relief efforts. The Amazon founder owns a 14-acre plot at La Perouse Bay, just 20 miles away from fire-impacted areas of South Maui, according to the New York Times.

Thursday, Aug 10, 2023 – 9:15 p.m.

Maui County has raised the wildfire-related death toll to 55 after two more fatalities were confirmed on Thursday, according to a press release. The county had reported 17 others deaths earlier Thursday.

The announcement comes as officials have warned that the number is likely to rise as search and rescue efforts continue in the historic town of Lahaina.

Thursday, Aug 10, 2023 – 5:30 p.m.

The four public school campuses in West Maui will remain closed for another week, state Department of Education officials say.

The four schools are Lahainaluna High, Lāhainā Intermediate, Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary and King Kamehameha III Elementary.

The will be shut down through Aug. 18, DOE said in a press release.

The DOE is still making sure all students, staff and families are accounted for and working on an operational plan for West Maui schools going forward, the press release said.

Aerial view of the destruction of Lahaina town and Lahaina Harbor is seen Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023, in Maui. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)
The harbor at Lahaina was severely damaged in the fires earlier this week. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

“Damage assessments of the Lāhainā campuses are pending safe access to the sites. A HIDOE representative was able to confirm the severe fire and structural damage to King Kamehameha III Elementary on Front Street in Lāhainā on Thursday,” the DOE said.

For all other Maui public schools, an update on reopening plans will be made tomorrow. Schools in Upcountry, South and Central Maui will have phased reopening plans.

Thursday, Aug 10, 2023 – 3 p.m.

FEMA Administrator To Travel To Hawaii

FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell is on the way to Hawaii to meet with state and local officials to discuss “ongoing response and recovery efforts” following the extensive damage and loss of human life caused by wildfires.

Federal disaster assistance was activated Thursday to allow affected people in Maui to access assistance including grants and loans to assist recovery efforts.

Further details of Criswell’s visit are yet to be confirmed.

Top federal emergency officials were headed to Maui Thursday to assess damage and meet with state leaders. (Jack Truesdale/Civil Beat/2023)

Thursday, Aug 10, 202 – 1:25 p.m.

Death Toll Continues To Climb

The death toll rose to 53 on Thursday after authorities confirmed 17 more people were killed in the wildfire that is still burning in the historic town of Lahaina, Maui county said. It said no other details are available.

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said earlier in an interview with CNN that as many as 1,700 buildings were probably destroyed in the fires and the death toll is expected to exceed the 61 people who died in a 1960 tsunami.

“I’ll tell you, by the time this disaster is all described, I’m sure there will be dozens of people that lost their lives and billions of dollars of property that was destroyed,” Green told the network.

The hollowed out shells of buildings shows the scale of devastation from the wildfire in Lahaina. (Ku‘u Kauanoe/Civil Beat/2023)

Thursday, Aug 10, 2023 – 11:15 a.m.

Maui County Updates Fire Containment Efforts

Fires that caused fatal damage in Lahaina town were still burning, but crews had been able to contain about 80% of the blaze by this morning, according to Maui County release.

The town remains without power.

Access to Lahaina remains restricted beyond Maalaea on the Honoapiiliani Highway, as crews continue fire operations and crews work to clear roads of debris.

The Pulehu fire, mauka of Kihei, was 70% contained after crews created firebreaks using heavy earthmoving equipment.

The fires in Olinda and Upper Kula are still being assessed this morning, with fires continuing to burn in small gullies that are hard to reach.

Around the 1,400 people were accommodated in five emergency shelters Wednesday night, with many heading to the airport for flights this morning, the release said.

The American Red Cross has established a hotline for those trying locate loved ones impacted by the fires. 1-800-733-2767

Thursday, Aug 10, 2023 – 10:30 a.m.

Lahaina Damage Captured On Video

Video showing wildfire damage in Lahaina Tuesday Aug. 9, 2023. (Ku’u Kauanoe/Civil Beat/2023)
Lahaina town showing impact of the wildfire. (Ku’u Kauanoe/Civil Beat/2023)

Thursday, Aug 10, 2023 – 8:30 a.m.

Federal Disaster Declaration

President Joe Biden has declared a major disaster in Hawaii and ordered federal aid to boost state and local recovery efforts amid widespread damage from wildfires on Maui.

The decision on Thursday was in response to a request by Hawaii Gov. Josh Green, who called the fires “the deadliest natural disaster the state has seen in generations.”

At least 36 people were killed by the flames that spread rapidly and destroyed or damaged more than 200 buildings. The historic town of Lahaina was devastated.

The White House said federal assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, as well as other programs to help residents and business owners recover.

Federal funding also is available for state, eligible local governments and some nonprofit organizations “on a cost-sharing basis for debris removal and emergency protective measures in Maui County,” it said, adding that includes the Big Island.

Wednesday, Aug 9, 2003 – 7 p.m.

Ferry Service Halted

Lahaina Harbor is littered with sunken, burned-out boats, forcing Expeditions, the Maui-Lanai passenger ferry, to halt operations, a state lawmaker said.

“There is a mass loss of boats,” said Sen. Lynn DeCoite, who represents both islands. “We don’t know where those boats that sank are and if we have a ferry service coming in, we can’t have unknown wreckage.”

Expeditions, the Maui-Lanai passenger ferry, normally makes eight trips a day between Lahaina Small Boat Harbor on Maui and Manele Small Boat Harbor on Lanai, carrying roughly 175,000 passengers a year.

While some Lanai residents travel to Maui for entertainment options, many depend on the ferry to reach Maui-based doctors, veterinarians, chiropractors, family members and jobs.

Residents must travel to Maui or Oahu for emergency and even routine medical needs — colonoscopies, mammograms, any kind of surgery, even an ankle fracture.

Mokulele Airlines also offers transport to Maui, but flights are limited by Mokulele’s nine-seat aircraft. In recent months residents have complained that the airline’s nine-passenger planes aren’t sufficient to meet resident demand for interisland travel.

Flyover photo by the US Civil Air Patrol showing damage to the West Maui town of Lahaina and harbor on Wednesday. (Courtesy: US Civil Air Patrol/Maui Fire Department)

“We are losing one of only two ways to get in and out of the island, and of course it’s the more cheaper route,” said Cindylou Figuerres, associate executive director at Lanai Community Health Center. “It totally changes the landscape for our patients who need to travel for care. Right now it’s survival mode but we’re always thinking about what will it take to rebuild?”

Maui County Councilman Gabe Johnson, who lives on Lanai, said Expeditions could reroute it’s Lanai-Maui service to Maalaea Small Boat Harbor on the west coast of Maui, approximately 16 miles southeast of Lahaina. The ferry discontinued its Maalaea route in 2008.

The Manele-Maalaea route takes about 75 minutes, about a half hour longer than the usual route to Lahaina Harbor. Residents say the Maalaea route was often a choppy voyage.

“It’s a rougher trip, but we can still get there,” said Lanai residents Alberta DeJetley, who owns and operates a taxi service. “It’s not as if we’re going to be totally without options to get off the island.”

Expeditions staff could not be reached by phone on Wednesday. The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources said it did not yet have a full accounting of damage to Lahaina Harbor.

Wednesday, Aug 9, 2003 – 6:30 p.m.

Maui Fires People Locator

Here’s a list that’s been posted on Facebook of nearly 800 names of people who may have been impacted by the Maui wildfires.

Many people are reporting that they or their friends and loved ones have been found. Many names are still logged as missing or “not located.”

Check out the list here.

Wednesday, Aug 9, 2003 – 4.40 p.m.

County Says Fires Are Not Under Control

None of the Maui fires are fully under control or contained, said Maui County’s Chief of Communications Mahina Martin at an update late Wednesday.

The wind is playing havoc with operations, Martin said, but emergency managers are hopeful that will change given a more favorable wind forecast. “What we’re finding with high wind is the embers do go a distance from the source,” she said.

A large tree fell short of this Kula home Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, on Maui. Strong winds hammered the island which gave rise to multiple wildfires. There was no electricity in the neighborhood. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)
A large tree fell short of this Kula home as strong winds hammered Maui, giving rise to multiple wildfires. There was no electricity in the neighborhood. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

Martin says the county is organizing buses to transport tourists to the airport from shelters.

The county has been working with DOT and airlines to organize “multiple” empty planes to fly to Maui to take them off the island, most likely to Oahu. “We’re aiming for this afternoon,” Martin said.

Wednesday, Aug 9, 2003 – 4:30 p.m.

Most Schools To Stay Closed Through Friday

All Maui schools, with the exception of Hana Elementary and High School, will be closed through Friday, Aug. 11 due to the wildfire conditions, Hawaii’s Department of Education announced. The island’s district office will also be closed.

The department said it was waiting to gain access to Lahaina to assess damage shown in aerial photographs to the King Kamehameha III Elementary campus on Front Street.

Wednesday, Aug 9, 2003 – 3:55 p.m.

The Feds Arrive As Search And Rescue Gets Going

The Civil Air Patrol and the Maui Fire Department flew over areas hit by the fires and determined that more than 271 structures have been impacted, according to a press release from Maui County.

About 100 Maui firefighters have been on duty around the clock and the county asked for an additional 20 firefighters from Honolulu along with an incident management team.

Four helicopters are making water drops in Lahaina. Two Chinooks, along with four Windward Aviation helicopters, have been battling all three fires with water drops. Three additional helicopters from the Coast Guard and Navy were conducting search and rescue along the West Maui coastline, the press release said.

A federal team arrived on Maui and is on the ground in Lahaina to assist with search and rescue efforts there.

As of Wednesday afternoon, according to the press release, the Maui Fire Department reported no significant changes for the Lahaina, Upcountry and Pulehu fires. There are no new evacuations. There are no containment numbers at this time, the county said.

Burned out vehicles on the waterfront of the Lahaina harbor. (Provided: Maui Fire Department/US Civil Air Patrol)

Wednesday, Aug 9, 2003 – 3:45 p.m.

How To Avoid Scams When Donating To Maui Wildfire Victims

The state Attorney General’s office is urging residents to use caution when choosing where to send their money and donations.

“I know that the people of Hawaii will come to the aid of our families, neighbors and communities,” says Attorney General Lopez. “We are already seeing various fundraising efforts being promoted on social media platforms and online. In moments of crisis, we all must be extra vigilant against bad actors who try to take advantage of people’s goodwill.”

Before making a donation, the AG advised in a news release Wednesday to keep following tips in mind:

  • Donate to trusted, well-known charities. Beware of scammers who create fake charities during natural disasters. Always verify a charity’s legitimacy through its official website. If someone is fundraising on behalf of a charity you are familiar with, the best practice is to donate directly to that charity.
  • Stay away from suspicious donation requests and be mindful of the following scammer’s tactics:
    • Rushing you into making a donation. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. Take your time to do your research.  
    • Asking you to make a donation using cash or gift card. Most legitimate charities will accept credit card and check donations.  
    • Using names that sound a lot like the names of real charities. This is one reason it pays to do some research before giving.
    • Scammers make lots of vague and sentimental claims but give no specifics about how your donation will be used.

Donors with any questions or complaints about a scam charity can contact the Tax & Charities Division at 808-586-1480 or by sending an email to  

Highway 30, Honoapiilani Highway, toward Lahaina is blocked outside of Maalaea Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023. A large fire consumed the town of Lahaina. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)
Highway 30, Honoapiilani Highway, toward Lahaina was blocked outside of Maalaea Wednesday. A large fire consumed the town of Lahaina. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

Wednesday, Aug 9, 2003 – 3:40 p.m.

Red Flag Warning In Effect

A red flag warning is in effect for most leeward areas of the Hawaiian Islands.

That means critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.

East winds are currently 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 50 miles per hour. Humidity is forecast at 40 to 45% through Wednesday evening.

Wednesday, Aug 9, 2003 – 3:35 p.m.

Mental Health Services Available

The state Department of Health’s Maui Community Mental Health Center is offering crisis mental health services and expanded hours for those experiencing emotional distress due to the wildfires, a DOH release says.

For services, contact Maui CMHC at 808-984-2150 or email or in person at 121 Mahalani Street in Wailuku. Clinic hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Clinic hours are expanded on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After hours, contact Hawaii CARES to speak to a local crisis counselor at 808-832-3100, 1-800-753-6879, or call/text/chat 988.

These services include mental health counseling, trauma processing, psychiatric services and resource guidance, the release says.

Cellphone video shot by Lahaina resident Alan Barrios, as wildfire damages buildings. (Provided: Alan Barrios)

Wednesday, Aug 9, 2003 – 3:30 p.m.

Biden Offers Condolences — And Federal Assistance

President Joe Biden has ordered “all available federal assets” in Hawaii to help cope with the the wildfires on Maui.

That includes military assets with the deployment of the Hawaii National Guard, which has used Chinook helicopters to help with fire suppression and search and rescue efforts, according to a press release. The U.S. Coast Guard and the Navy’s 3rd Fleet are also helping with the response. Meanwhile, the Army is providing Black Hawk Helicopters to fight the fires on the Big Island, the White House said.

Biden said he and first lady Jill Biden “send our deepest condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones in the wildfires in Maui, and our prayers are with those who have seen their homes, businesses, and communities destroyed.”

The president also urged “all residents to continue to follow evacuation orders, listen to the instructions of first responders and officials, and stay alert.”

Wednesday, Aug 9, 2003 – 2:40 p.m.

Maui Strong Fund Is Activated

The Hawaii Community Foundation has activated its Maui Strong Fund with $1 million in commitments to support residents affected by the Maui wildfires.

Micah Kane, CEO and President of HCF, said in a press release Wednesday that the organization is collaborating with the Maui County mayor, state leaders and nonprofits to provide support.

“The Maui Strong Fund will provide resources that can be deployed quickly, with a focus on relief and recovery for the devastating wildfires that are still taking place on Maui,” he said.

Funding will support evolving needs, including shelter, food, financial assistance and other services.

The effort was anchored by a $500,000 contribution from the Omidyar Ohana Fund at HCF, in addition to $170,000 from existing funds in the Maui Strong Fund, $100,000 from the Goodfellow Bros., $50,000 from Hawaii Life, $25,000 from the Cooke Foundation, $25,000 from Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design, a center of the Doris Duke Foundation, and anonymous donors, according to the release.

HCF will not be collecting a fee for donations to the Maui Strong Fund. 100% of the funds will be distributed for community needs.

Nonprofit organizations seeking funding should email request to

To contribute to the fund, visit the HCF information page here.

Wednesday, Aug 9, 2003 – 2:30 p.m.

Hawaiian Telcom Updates Service Outages

Hawaiian Telcom says that its customers in areas including Lahaina, Napili, Kaanapali, Kula, and Makawao are still experiencing intermittent phone and internet outages.

The 911 system is operational although customers in areas with outages may not be able to access services. Texting 911 may be an option if phone calls are unsuccessful.

The utility company advises caution with downed power lines and fallen utility poles or cables or by contacting the customer support team, please call (808) 643-6111 or visit

Wednesday, Aug 9, 2003 – 2:15 p.m.

These Maps Show Where The Active Fires Are In Hawaii

The Fire Information for Resource Management System US/Canada provides maps of wildfire activity. It’s a joint effort by NASA and the USDA Forest Service.

Here are FIRMS maps of Maui and Hawaii that show the latest wildfire activity as of Wednesday afternoon in Upcountry and Lahaina on Maui and in Kohala on the Big Island.

Wednesday, Aug 9, 2003 – 2 p.m.

Civil Beat Reporter’s Home Burns Down

Marina Riker, our Maui reporter, says she and her family and pets are safe but the home she was renting in Kula burned down overnight.

“We lost all of our belongings. But we’re thankful that’s just stuff,” she said Wednesday. “In the long term all that matters is that our loved ones are together and out of harm’s way.”

A Kula home that Civil Beat's Maui reporter Marina Riker was renting burned in the wildfires this week. (Marina Riker/Civil Beat/2023)
A Kula home that Civil Beat’s Maui reporter Marina Riker was renting burned down in the wildfires Tuesday night. (Marina Riker/Civil Beat/2023)

Wednesday, Aug 9, 2003 – 1:20 p.m.

Hotels Are Working On ‘A Lot Of Logistics’

The Maui wildfire’s impact on the island’s hotels and resorts was extending far beyond Lahaina and nearby Kaanapali by late morning.

The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua, north of Lahaina, for instance, was safe, but cut off from help, with no phone service and electricity supplied by generators, said Jerry Gibson, president of the Hawaii Hotel Association.

The hotel’s 466 rooms and 107 suites were full, Gibson said.

But fuel and food were running low. “They’re like an island up there,” Gibson said.

The property had only enough diesel fuel to keep electricity going for about six hours. The challenge was how to get a truckload of diesel fuel to the property when the normal routes were surrounded by fire.

“We’re working on a lot of logistics right now,” Gibson said.

Wednesday, Aug 9, 2003 – 1:15 p.m.

Drop Off Food, Supplies And other Donations

Maui’s War Memorial Complex is open Wednesday and Thursday as a drop-off center for donations aimed to help fire evacuees on Maui.

Non-perishable food, bottled water, hygiene items and blankets are being accepted, according to a Maui County press release.

Fire stations are unable to accept donations for shelters.

More than 2,100 people were housed in four emergency shelters Tuesday night as crews battled fires in Lahaina, Pulehu and Upcountry. Shelters were set up at Maui Prepartory Academy in Napili, Maui High School in Kahului, War Memorial Center and Hannibal Tavares Community Center in Pukalani.

Wednesday, Aug 9, 2003 – 12 p.m.

Coast Guard And Charter Rescues

Trilogy Excursions, a boat charter company, has been assisting the U.S. Coast Guard in rescue efforts since Tuesday night. Denver Coon of the charter business says they picked up three people from the water near Lahaina, but there were about 50 that were stranded out in the water.

They were picked up by about 3 a.m.

“We left at 6 a.m. and there were still lots of buildings left on fire,” Coon said.

He said that people were still being rescued by U.S. Coast Guard off the coast, before noon.

Trilogy charter operators were lending a hand by delivering water and workers to Lahaina on Wednesday. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

Coon said he was transporting Hawaiian Electric workers from Lanai to Maui to assist in restoring power.

“There’s still a brush fire north of Lahaina that is still not under control,” he said.

Trilogy Excursions lost one of its boats to the fire in Lahaina Harbor, along with an office and restaurant, among other things, Coon said.

Federal Aid Sought

Hawaii’s congressional delegation called for prompt federal assistance to help the state cope with widespread damage from wildfires on Maui and the Big Island.

Residents and tourists seek shelter at Maui High School Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023, in Kahului. A large fire consumed the town of Lahaina. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)
Residents and tourists seek shelter at Maui High School Wednesday in Kahului. (Kevin Fujii/Civil Beat/2023)

U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono joined U.S. Reps. Ed Case and Jill Tokuda in urging President Joe Biden to expedite all available federal resources available.

“Communities in both counties will need substantial support to recover from fires that are devastating some of the State’s most iconic cultural and economic centers,” the delegation wrote in their letter to Biden.

Lahaina Devastated

Dramatic video from witnesses captured flames tearing through the historic town of Lahaina.

Footage filmed in Lahaina, Maui showing damage from a wildfire on Tuesday. (Courtesy: Alan Barrios)

Food Assistance

The Salvation Army is expanding a meal service for people in emergency shelters on Maui. It also called on “large volume meal donations” from local restaurants and certified kitchens.

“During emergencies, the best way the public can help is to provide monetary donations which allows the delivery of the exact relief supplies a community needs,” said Victor Leonardi of the Salvation Army Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Division.

Donations may be made online at, it said.

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

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