Latest on the Maui Wildfires

Here are the latest developments and safety information you need to know about the ongoing wildfires on Maui.


Tad Craig

Photo: Courtesy of Tad Craig Photography


We will continue to update this post with the latest developments on the devastating Maui wildfires.

Latest Developments


The confirmed death toll from the Lahaina fires rose to 115 people on Monday, Aug. 21, according to Maui County, making it the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in a century and a profound loss for our community. Recovery teams continue to make their way through the devastation in Lahaina. Maui Mayor Richard Bissen Tuesday said between 1,000 and 1,100 people are still classified as “unaccounted for” while thousands of those initially missing were reported found.


Gov. Josh Green says he expects the number of people killed by the fast-moving fires to rise each day as the disaster crews go through the buildings within the impact zone of the historic, beloved and culturally significant onetime capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Disaster aid from across the state and the nation continues to flow in from federal, private and community members sending donations, emergency items and volunteers.


Bissen says he expects those numbers to fluctuate as the FBI, Maui Police and others try to work through the lists of people, some identified by only their first name.


Maui police ask for reports of anyone still unaccounted for after the wildfire disaster  to contact the department at If an individual was unaccounted for and has since made contact, the FBI urges that information be shared at (808) 566-4300 or so they can be removed from the list of people who are still missing.


“As Long As It Takes”

On Monday, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden toured Maui, met with first responders, survivors, and federal, state and local officials and discuss next steps in recovery. He vowed strong and continuing support from the federal government.  “The devastation is overwhelming,” he said, after flying over and walking through part of Lahaina, hearing of the more than 114 who died and hundreds missing: “For as long as it takes, we’re going to be with you.”


Biden also spoke near the charred 150-year-old banyan tree, blackened but still standing. “Trees survive for a reason. I believe it’s a powerful, very powerful symbol, of what we can and will do to get through this crisis.” Then the Bidens spent several hours talking to residents and survivors at a community center before leaving Hawai‘i about 4 p.m. Monday.


FEMA President Biden, first lady Jill Biden, Gov. Josh and Jaime Green walk through devasated Lahaina

Photo: FEMA. On Monday, from left, First Lady Jill Biden, FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, President Joe Biden, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green and First Lady Jaime Kanani Green survey devastated areas in Lahaina.


More Aid

FEMA officials Tuesday reported that the major disaster declaration was changed to provide additional funding to restore or rebuild disaster-damaged public facilities as well as eligible private nonprofits.


Names of Victims

Maui officials continued the painful task of releasing the names of victims who have been identified and family notified. Maui police Tuesday identified eight more of those who died in the fires, seven more Lahaina residents and a visitor from California. They are Narciso Baylosis Jr., 67;  Vanessa Baylosis, 67; Theresa Cook, 72, of California; Antonia Molina, 64; Joseph Schilling, 67; Freeman Tam Lung, 59; Clyde Wakida, 74; and Todd Yamafuji, 68. They joined the names of other Lahaina residents identified earlier, including Douglas Gloege 59; and Juan Deleon, 45;   Conchita Sagudang, 75; Danilo Sagudang, 55; Rodolfo Rocutan, 76; Jonathan Somaoang, 76; and Angelita Vasquez, 88.


Officials said Monday that all single-story residential properties were searched in the hardest-hit disaster area and that search teams have moved into multi-story residential buildings and businesses.


Those are added to those already known: Donna Gomes, 71, a retired Maui Police Department public safety aide; Melva Benjamin, 71; Virginia Dofa, 90, and Alfredo Galinato, 79. Earlier two Lahaina men were named among those lost: Robert Dyckman, 74; and musician Buddy Jantoc, 79, who had toured with Santan. Maui officials emphasize that officials are striving to move forward “with the utmost sensitivity and respect for those who are grieving.” Police say another 22 people have been identified but family members had not yet been located or notified.


Damage Estimate

As of the latest assessment, 2,500 structures were damaged or destroyed and 2,170 acres in Lahaina have burned as a result of the fires, according to the Pacific Disaster Center and FEMA, who have estimated that the cost of rebuilding Lahaina will total at least $5.52 billion. An estimated 86% of buildings exposed to the fire were classified as residential.


Search for Those Lost

As of Tuesday, Maui County reported 100% of the single-family residential homes in the most devastated 3.5-mile core of Lahaina had been searched. Bissen says 341 emergency personnel with 50 specially trained dogs are searching the area. On Monday, officials estimated they were joined by 270 people from the American Red Cross and 399 from the Hawai‘i National Guard and that the FEMA team now totals close to 1,000.


Maui Police Chief John Pelletier asked for relatives of those missing to provide DNA swabs at the Family Assistance Center to identify those left behind by the fast-moving fires decimated the area. Green says 990 people are housed; 414 hotel rooms are fill and another 500 staying in airbnb sites.


Green says he expects crews will get through 85% of the most critical area by next week, but the last 15% that includes three-and-four-story buildings will require special equipment and more time.


Lack of Sirens

Maui Emergency Management Agency administrator Herman Andaya appeared at the public briefing for the first time on Wednesday afternoon and defended the agency’s choice to not use the sirens when firefighters reported that “their crews were being overrun and so at that point we sent out evacuation notices.”  Survivors have said they received no warning of the fast-moving flames or that they should evacuate, leaving many unable to escape.


Official Resigns

On Thursday afternoon, Maui Mayor Bissen announced that he has accepted Andaya’s resignation, effective immediately. Bissen says Andaya cited health reasons. Bissen says he will place someone in the position swiftly.


On Wednesday, Andaya’s explanation of the reason for not using the sirens ignited more outrage: “The counties of Hawai‘i will tell you that sirens have not been used for brushfires,” Andaya said. Instead, he says, the agency relied on emergency alert systems that notify people through their cell phones and television and radio announcements. He said he was on O‘ahu for a conference when the fire began, but that the team acted appropriately. Andaya said people in the community expect the sirens for tsunami alerts, so they would generally head to higher ground, which would not have spared them from the speeding fire. “So even if we sounded the sirens, we would not have saved those people on the mountain side,” he said.


“Most of our sirens are on the coastline, so if there is a fire occurring inland, then the sirens will be of no use,” Andaya said. The eyewitness photos of the disaster and aftermath show that the fire obliterated most of the Lahaina waterfront. Asked if he regretted that the sirens were not sounded, he replied: “I do not.”



Police Chief Pelletier stressed the catastrophic impact. “This is unprecedented. No one has ever seen this that is alive today,” he said Wednesday. “Not this size, not this number, not this volume, and we’re not done.”


Red Cross Response

The American Red Cross said over the weekend that the organization hopes to shift all displaced residents out of group emergency shelters and into hotel rooms this week. Vice President for Disaster Operations Brad Kieserman estimates that people can expect to be remain in hotel rooms for 7 to 8 months: “We will be able to keep folks in hotels for as long as it takes.”


The speed of the fire, the number of people who have died, the destruction, is hard to grasp even though he has witnessed the aftermath of a decade of major U.S. disasters. “The level of trauma by those who survived, it’s just unspeakable,” he said. Kieserman praised the coordinationn of officials and the generosity of people from across the world and the FEMA program. “We’re going to be able to quadruple the amount of financial assistance that we’re able to provide survivors here.”


Outside Review of Response

Hawai‘i State Attorney General Anne Lopez announced her office will hire a third-party private organization to conduct a comprehensive review of critical decision-making and policies in place leading up to, during and after the wildfires on Maui and Hawai‘i Island this week.


“This will be an impartial, independent review,” Lopez said in a statement Aug. 17. She said the outside review will ensure accountability and transparency and reassure the people of Hawai‘i that all the facts will be uncovered. Lopez says the review will help improve emergency preparedness. “We intend to look at this critical incident to facilitate any necessary corrective action and to advance future emergency preparedness,” she said. Green had called for the review.


Online Resource Hub

A new online centralized hub called Maui Nui Strong,, designed to respond to the impacts of the Lahaina and Kula wildfire disaster was launched. The County of Maui site offers information on how to donate, volunteer, offer services and look for support. It is intended to work with multiple county departments, nonprofits and grassroots efforts to connect people to resources and services.


Aid Center

On Wednesday, FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell announced that Biden authorized the federal cost share to be increased for Hawai‘i. She said additional disaster assistance will supplement what was already being made available to the state. And FEMA also opened a joint Disaster Recovery Center Wednesday at the UH Maui College, located at 310 W. Ka‘ahumanu Avenue, Kahului, Hawai‘i. Survivors can speak to FEMA specialists, get assistance registering for disaster assistance, get in touch with voluntary organizations and have access to other federal and state resources from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.


Disaster Help

Criswell urges those displaced to register to receive a $700 per household payment for immediate needs. In a Monday update,  FEMA officials said that 3,400 people have registered, 2,700 households have received immediate aid totaling $8.2 million, That includes $3.4 million in initial rental assistance.


Criswell said crews are coordinating with state officials and federal partners “as residents continue to mourn the loss of their friends, their loved ones, their neighbors, the loss of their homes and their way of life.” She said team are looking “for those that were left behind” in the rubble but remain hopeful that more of the missing will be located among survivors: “I think what we’re going to find is people that have relocated somewhere and they’re going to get reconnected with their family members.”


Search Updates

FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell say more than 1,000 responders are responding from the federal government and she stressed the unfathomable destruction. “Nothing can prepare you for what I saw during my time here and nothing can prepare them for the emotional toll of the impact that this severe event has taken.”


Fire Updates

As of Sunday, Maui County estimated the Lahaina fire as 90% contained within a perimeter but still burning. In Upcountry/Kula, Maui County determined two fires in Kula and Olinda had different origins. The Olinda fire the fire is 85% contained and burned an estimated 1,081 acres. Kula fire was 85% contained after burning 202 acres. The Pūlehu/Kīhei fire remained 100% contained Sunday, although hot spots in gulches and other hard-to-reach places mean that flare-ups can continue. A fire is declared extinguished when crews believe nothing is left burning. The Pu‘uokoli‘i/Ka‘anapali fire (first reported Friday) covered an acre and was extinguished.


Predatory Buying

After hearing reports of vulnerable survivors being contacted by individuals trying to buy their property, the state asked people to report any unsolicited offers by name, organization and contact info to the consumer resource center at (808) 58-4272. Gov. Green said Monday: “I will try to allow no one from outside our state to buy any land until we get through this crisis and decide what Lahaina should be in the future.”


Tax Relief

Maui Mayor Bissen says people in the affected area won’t have to pay property taxes for buildings or land. If they already paid, the tax will be refunded to help with recover. He says he will hold a community meeting in West Maui soon.


Access to Lahaina

Maui police are restricting access into Lahaina, but Tuesday Gov. Green ordered the Lahaina Bypass Road open at 6 p.m to residents, first responders and workers until 6 a.m. Wednesday. Green says after that, the road will open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Officials say that access emergency crews are continuing search and rescue efforts and that everyone is encouraged to wear N95 masks and gloves in the area. The highway is open for vehicles leaving Lahaina, according to Maui County. However, the impact zone of historic Lahaina town will remain restricted for safety concerns.


Immediate Needs Estimated

The Pacific Disaster Center/FEMA damage assessment says potential needs will include sheltering 4,500 people, providing 3,560 gallons of water each day and 9,000 ready-to-eat meals.


Temporary Housing

The American Red Cross said over the weekend that the organization shift most residents out of group emergency shelters and into hotel rooms by next week. Vice President for Disaster Operations Brad Kieserman estimates that survivors can expect ot remain in hotel rooms 7 to 8 months: “We will be able to keep folks in hotels for as long as it takes.” Maui County reported 1,800 people sheltered at Maui hotels: Hyatt Regency Maui; Outrigger Ka‘anapali Beach Resort; Royal Lahaina, Honua Kai Outrigger, Maui Seaside and Westin Maui.


Federal Response

Criswell was among several top administrators in Hawai‘i to assess and respond along with hundreds of staff from across federal agencies who have been sent to assist. Those federal helpers include the Department of Defense, the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Department of Health & Human Services joining responders since the wildfires began.


Power and Water

County officials say some power was restored to all but 1,800 of the 12,400 who lost power in Lahaina. That is in addition to the 2,000 homes and businesses that were destroyed in Lahaina. And 50 homes in Kula also remained without power as of Monday.


For those in Lahaina and Upper Kula with access to water in the affected areas, the Maui Department of Water is advising people to not drink tap water even if they boil it. The county sent out the alert until further notice and has set up water distribution sites. It advised only bottled water for drinking, brushing teeth, making ice and preparing food until further notice. Water officials say the water could cause illness because it may have become contaminated as a result of the devastation.


Some cell phone service was available in West Maui. Officials urge everyone to text instead of talk to share the bandwidth available. Hawaiian Telcom says customers in Lahaina, Napili, and Kā‘anapali can request to have calls to their Hawaiian Telcom landline numbers forwarded for free to another phone number and is coordinating with government officials to provide community phone and wifi service to emergency shelters. Those affected can call a new toll-free number created to assist Maui residents: (808) 643-MAUI (6284).


Pioneer Inn Lahaina Fire Pc Dlnr

Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i Dept. of Land and Natural Resources


Financial Damage and Aid

AccuWeather provided a preliminary estimate of the damage and economic loss from the devastating Maui wildfires at $8–$10 billion.


Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and fiancée Lauren Sánchez announced a pledge of $100 million to help Maui recover. On Instagram, she wrote: “Jeff and I are heartbroken by what’s happening on Maui. We are thinking of all the families that have lost so much and a community that has been left devastated.” She says the Maui fund will be used for both immediate needs and longer-term rebuilding “and over the coming years as the continuing needs reveal themselves.” Bezos is listed as owner of a 14-acre property at La Perouse Bay in South Maui.


President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for Hawai‘i and ordered federal aid to assist the areas affected by wildfires. This includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help with recovery from the fires. “The federal government isn’t just sending prayers to the people of Hawai‘i—but every asset they need,” Biden said in a White House statement. “We’re surging aid, resources and personnel and will help the state recover for as long as it takes.”


Green said this is the deadliest disaster in Hawai‘i state history, and vowed to help Maui recover. “It will be a tremendous effort, but we will come together as a community and begin working toward rebuilding from this tragedy,” he said in a statement.


Map showing Maui wildfire damage released aug. 11-12

Damage estimates as of Aug. 11. Graphics: Courtesy of Pacific Disaster Center and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


Disaster Assistance

Disaster assistance is now available for individuals and households through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Those impacted by the Maui wildfires should apply. Assistance includes funds for temporary housing, occupied-home repairs, hazard mitigation, uninsured expenses and serious needs. Applicants can apply at


No Visitors to West Maui

Officials continue to urge visitors to leave the island and to cancel any upcoming trips to West Maui to preserve resources for Maui residents. West Maui hotels are not accepting bookings at this time. They are housing their employees and families as well as evacuees and first responders. Green and Bissen emphasize that the rest of Maui, and the rest of the state, is open to visitors.


Homeowners are also being asked to house the thousands of residents who have lost their homes. State officials estimate  50,000 visitors left on flights departing Maui in the three days after the wildfires.


O‘ahu Assistance Center

The Assistance Center at the Hawai‘i Convention Center was  relocated to the Ke‘ehi Lagoon Memorial at 2685 N. Nimitz Highway in Honolulu. Shuttles offering free transportation from the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport to Ke‘ehi Lagoon Memorial will be running throughout the day and can be found outside of baggage claim 9 and baggage claim 20 at the airport.



Maui Fires

Photo: Courtesy of Zeke Kalua of Maui County


Latest News Stories


Death toll in Maui wildfires expected to climb as FEMA searches for remains | LIVE UPDATES

Updated Aug. 13, 2023

Starting this weekend, 500 hotel rooms will be made available for displaced locals, and another 500 will be set aside for FEMA personnel, according to the governor. (KITV)


Donations pouring in, but getting them to those in need a work in progress

Aug. 12, 2023

“What we hear from our survivors that are in Lahaina is that it is not clothing that they need right now,” said Isabella Bissen, wife of Maui Mayor Richard Bissen. “They need water. They need batteries. They need lanterns, flashlights.” The biggest need is monetary contributions. (Hawai‘i News Now)


PHOTOS: The devastation in Lahaina stretches for miles

Updated Aug. 12, 2023

Photos of the wildfires’ aftermath. (Hawai‘i News Now)


Department of Health Offering Mental Health Services

Aug. 11, 2023

Anyone experiencing emotional or psychological distress as a result of the Maui wildfires can contact the Maui Community Mental Health Center or Hawaiʻi CARES. (Hawai‘i State Department of Health via Facebook)


Police close access to fire-ravaged Lahaina amid safety concerns as search for victims continue

Aug. 11, 2023

Though residents and visitors were allowed to return to Lahaina on Friday, at about 4 p.m., police abruptly closed the road amid safety concerns. (Hawai‘i News Now)


LIVE: Death toll from Lahaina wildfire now at 53; governor says historic town is ‘gone’

Aug. 10, 2023

After a tour of Lahaina, Gov. Josh Green said the historic town was “tragically gone” and estimated well over 1,000 buildings had been destroyed. (Hawai‘i News Now)


Lahaina, Pulehu and Upcountry Maui Fires Combined Update

Aug. 10, 2023

See aerial photos of the fire damage across Maui and the latest updates on the ongoing firefighting efforts. (County of Maui via Instagram)


Biden Approves Hawai‘i Disaster Declaration

Aug. 10, 2023

President Joe Biden has “ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by wildfires,” according to the White House. (


Airlines Add Flights to Get Travelers off of Maui After Deadly Wildfires

Aug. 10, 2023

Major airlines are waiving fees and adding rescue flights to assist those impacted by the fires. More than 11,000 people have been flown off the island since the fires began. (


PHOTOS: A Look at the Devastation on Maui

Updated Aug. 10, 2023

Scenes from the areas affected by the fires. (Hawai‘i News Now)


Dramatic new ground-level footage of devastation in Lahaina

Aug. 9, 2023

Some of the town’s most iconic and historic landmarks all burned down — from the Pioneer Inn to Lahaina’s famous banyan tree. (Hawai‘i News Now)


Joe Biden Initiates Federal Response to Assist Hawai‘i

Aug. 9, 2023

Here’s the official statement from President Biden on the wildfires in Hawai‘i. (


Fires Ravage Historic Sites in Lahaina

Aug. 9, 2023

Fire blazed through Lahaina’s historic Waiola Church as well as the Lahaina Hongwanji Mission. (The Maui News)


Lahaina Is ‘Like a War Zone,’ Say West Maui Evacuees

Aug. 9, 2023

Hundreds of residents and tourists took shelter at Maui High School. Donations of food, water, toiletries and bedding have been rolling in but tourists and residents are still processing what happened. (Civil Beat)


Hawaiian Electric Asks for Continued Patience on Power Restorations on Maui

Aug. 9, 2023

Crews are working to respond to more than 30 spans of downed power lines in Upcountry while approximately 12,400 West Maui customers remain offline. Hawaiian Electric advises everyone to stay at least 30 feet from downed power lines, as they may be energized and dangerous. (Hawaiian Electric)


Sen. Brian Schatz Says Lahaina Town Almost Entirely Burned Down

Aug. 9, 2023

“Firefighters are still trying to get the fires under control, and our first responders are in search and rescue mode.” (Sen. Brian Schatz via Twitter)


How Hurricane Dora Fanned the Wildfires (Video)

Aug. 9, 2023

A meteorologist explains how the winds led to overnight devastation on Maui and are continuing to cause problems. (



Hawaii State Capitol Maui Fire Donation Drive

Photo: Andrea Lee


How to Help


HONOLULU Magazine’s Compiled Ways to Support Maui


Maui Senators Organize Donation Drive at State Capitol to Help Those Harmed by Maui Wildfires

Those on O‘ahu can drop off toiletries, diapers, formula, toys, clothing, bedding, household goods and nonperishable food at the Hawai‘i State Capitol, 415 S. Beretania St., between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, and Friday, Aug. 11. Please do not bring bottled water.


Chamber Foundation Establishes Business Relief Fund to Provide Aid to Impacted Businesses

The Hawai‘i Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i have established a Business Relief Fund to benefit Hawai‘i businesses seeking assistance to recover and rebuild from the wildfires. Donations can be made online or by check made payable to “Hawai‘i Chamber of Commerce Foundation Relief Account” and mailed to 733 Bishop St., Suite 1200, Honolulu, HI 96813. Find more resources from the Chamber of Commerce at


Here’s How To Help Those Impacted By the Fires

Here are vetted organizations you can donate to. (Hawai‘i News Now)


Hawai‘i Community Foundation Accepting Donations for Maui Relief

The Maui Strong Fund was created to provide community resilience with resources for disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. The fund is currently being used to support communities affected by the wildfires on Maui.


Maui Mutual Aid Collecting Donations for Maui Wildfire Disaster Relief

The Maui Mutual Aid Fund is a group of volunteers who are collecting money and donations to support those affected by the wildfires. Check their social media pages to see what they need. They’re also accepting volunteers.


Maui United Way – Maui Fire Disaster Relief

Maui United Way is collecting donations to aid those displaced by the wildfires.


Maui Fire Relief Effort and Resources

Hawai‘i Life is matching the first $50K of its Hawai‘i Life Charitable Fund with proceeds going to the Hawai‘i Community Foundation. More organizations to support and resources are also listed.



Firefighter Lahaina Pc Dlnr

Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i Dept. of Land and Natural Resources


How to Stay Safe During Hawai‘i Wildfires


Contact FEMA for Disaster Assistance

Maui and Hawaii Island residents who need disaster assistance should call 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362).


Tune in to Maui Radio Stations

Maui residents can tune in to KAOI 1110 AM/95.1 FM and KPOA 93.5 FM for disaster response information.


Hawaii Wildfires ─ Red Cross Helping as Fires Force Thousands to Evacuate

The American Red Cross of Hawai‘i has opened shelters on Hawai‘i Island and Maui. Find out what you should bring to a shelter and where to find one. (Red Cross)


Lung Association Offers Tips to Protect Lung Health During Hawaii Fires

Breathing in wildfire smoke can lead to chronic health issues. Here’s how to protect your lungs when a wildfire breaks out near your home. (American Lung Association)


Wildfire Smoke and Animals

The American Veterinary Medical Association shares the symptoms to look out for in your animals that indicate they need medical attention for smoke inhalation, plus tips to keep them safe. (American Veterinary Medical Association)


Wildfire Evacuation Checklist

Use this checklist to prepare and practice wildfire evacuation plans. (U.S. Fire Administration)


Be Prepared If A Wildfire Occurs

If a wildfire is approaching your neighborhood, here’s how to prepare to evacuate and mitigate damage to your home. And in the scenario where you can’t evacuate in time, here’s what you should do. (U.S. Forest Service)


Wildfire & Drought Lookout!

This flyer sums up practical wildfire prevention and preparedness tips. (Hawai‘i Wildfire Management Organization)


Ready, Set, Go! Hawaii: Your Personal Wildland Fire Action Guide

This booklet covers how to prevent wildfires and protect your home, and includes planning guides and checklists to ensure you and your ‘ohana have everything you need to stay safe. (Hawai‘i Wildfire Management Organization)


After the Fire

This guide details steps for recovery after a fire has swept through your home. (U.S. Fire Administration)