Devastating Fires at Maui: so much history, activity and treasures lost
It’s so hard to fathom that many of Maui’s historic treasures and beautiful places to explore are now lost. With this unfortunate chain of events that were not foreseen with the passing of Hurricane Dora, Maui took the brunt of the intense winds, downed power lines and dry conditions on the western side of the island. This has quickly spread into wildfires that devasted many parts of the island and more specifically the treasure of the island at Lahaina.
Effects of Hurricane Dora’s passing
The exact cause of these fires remains uncertain, although officials have noted that the dry conditions and a combination of factors, including 60 mile and hour winds from distant Hurricane Dora located far to the south and a powerful high-pressure system to the north, have contributed to the rapid spread and intensification of the numerous wildfires around Maui Island and quickly taking over the mostly wooden homes and street front of Lahaina and then to the remaining interior areas and neighborhoods.
Other parts of the island around Kihei and Kula have likewise seen many brushfires which have burned acreage in the upcountry area.
Lahaina is consumed and quickly burned to the ground.
Being built mostly of wooden frames and construction, Lahaina caught fire on Tuesday night and was quirkly consumed and then ‘Reduced to ashes’ Historic Lahaina Town was no more and irreplaceable cultural and religious landmarks with historical ties and treasures spanning many centuries were lost in the fire. As the community grapples with the aftermath, both locals and tourists are grieving over the destruction of cherished Front Street and all the historic sites and attractions around Lahaina Town,
Over head views of Lahaina by helicopter
Other areas of Maui in flames
The Kihei region in the southern part of Maui, along with the elevated and inland neighborhoods referred to as Upcountry. In Kula two homes were burned to the ground from surrounding brushfires. On Wednesday, firefighters utilized 150,000 gallons of water to extinguish the fire; however, their attempts were hindered by strong winds.
The exact extent of the impact on these areas may vary, so it’s advisable to refer to official sources or local news for the latest updates on the wildfire situation across Maui.
Impact of the devastating Fires at Maui
Sadly, at this writing over 55 people have perished in the wildfires around Maui with over 1000 people missing. The various Maui communities are in a state of shock and grieving these massive fires and devastation. A state of emergency was declared for Maui Island by the acting governor Sylvia Luke which will free up more funds, Fema oversight, the National Guard and various emergency organizations to spearhead the aftereffects and then recovery in Maui.
Cell and landline service along with electricty has been severely disrupted and affecting the recovery and communications to love ones and visitors to the island. Electricity to restore has been in the works with the local electric company to get that up and running again.
Over 130 national guardsmen have been activated around the island and helicopters are flying around various parts of the island searching for those missing and noting conditions in more remote areas of the wildfires.
Relief and shelter sites have been established for locals and visitors that are in transit or cannot stay at their hotels or Air Bnbs around Maui and Oahu has set up a temporary shelter for those in transit at the Convention Center with reduced flights leaving Maui for Oahu.
Luke advised travelers to Maui to stay away from visiting the island and had extended the Emergency Proclamation until the end of the month. Those that visitors that have planned a vacation to Maui are kindly advised to schedule your visit for another time or divert your vacation to another island that is safe to travel to.
Check out these emergency services to Maui
If you wish to participate with relief efforts for Maui, please consider these organizations which will have on the ground forces in effect and can make an immediate impact.
Maui United Way https://mauiunitedway.org/disasterrelief
Harvest Maui Relief Fund: https://harvest.org/maui-relief-fund/
MRR an ahupua’a-based citizen-led disaster response team that has been actively doing this work for years in Maui. They are actively coordinating with the County and many agencies.
The Maui Food Bank: Maui Food Bank — Helping the Hungry in Maui County
Maui Mutual Aid Fund
A local effort, the Maui Mutual Aid Fund is run by volunteers looking to get funds and support to vulnerable residents, such as kūpuna (elderly), those with physical disabilities, renters and individuals without insurance. Donations can be sent to bit.ly/mauimutualaide.
The Salvation Army
Providing food and resources to those in need, The Salvation Army is accepting Maui donations on its Hawaiʻi site, hawaii.salvationarmy.org.
Maui Strong Fund
Created by the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation to provide resources for disaster preparedness, response and recovery, the Maui Strong Fund is currently being used to help aid communities affected by the Maui Wildfires. You can donate online at its website, hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/maui-strong
Maui Humane Society
The Maui Humane Society is asking for emergency foster homes for its animals to help make space for new displaced pets. Pet supplies, like wet and dry food, litter and pop-up kennels are also in need, and you can always donate funds on its website, mauihumanesociety.org.
Drop-off shelter donations at Maui’s War Memorial Complex
- Maui Police Department is calling for donations of non-perishable food, bottled water, hygiene items, and blankets.
- Those interested in dropping off donations should enter the complex through Kanaloa Avenue and drop off goods on the field to the left.
- Donations will be accepted through 6 p.m. Wednesday and from 8 a.m. through 6 p.m. Thursday.
If you NEED help, if you can OFFER help, please fill out the form at this link:
Volunteers, please be as detailed as you can through this multi-page document.
MRR is helping to coordinate DONATIONS, HOUSING, FOOD, TRANSPORTATION, and more for those who NEED it and those who can OFFER it.
It will take some time for Maui to recover and it’s citizens to understand the impact and total devastation and then to the recovery process and rebuilding. Helping with contributions and any expert disaster relief efforts will be the work of experienced volunteers and professionals. We do appreciate your immediate contributions to the above relief organizations above to help them with all the on ground relief efforts.
We mourn for these losses with Maui’s cultural and historical treasures and hope that recovery measures will take place in due time.
Thank you for visiting This Hawaii Life and we hope to keep you updated with any news and other means of kokua or helping Maui Island recover from this disaster.