Hawaii Wildfire Updates & Alerts
Last Updated: September 15, 2023
Beginning August 8, 2023, wildfires flared as Hurricane Dora traveled south of the islands but caused high winds (recorded at over 65mph) that whipped up the fires on Maui and the Big Island.
The news & scenes from Maui have been beyond devastating, with some officials saying this was the most severe Hawaii disaster since hurricanes Iwa (1982) and Iniki (1992). As of this posting, at least 97 people are confirmed dead from these horrific fires; many remain missing; over 2,200 structures were impacted (85% of which were residential), and over 2,100 acres burned. We've included information and links below where you can help those affected by the wildfires.
Quicklink Resources on this page...
- Maui Wildfire Information & Updates
- Hawaii official statement on delaying West Maui trips
- Hawaii Wildfire FAQ
- Donations & How to help those affected
- Additional Information & News Resources
Top photo credit: The hall of historic Waiola Church in Lahaina and nearby Lahaina Hongwanji Mission are engulfed in flames along Wainee Street on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii. (Matthew Thayer/The Maui News via AP)
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Ongoing Maui Wildfire Updates
Governor speaks about disaster
"What we saw is likely the largest natural disaster in Hawaii state history," Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said in a news conference on the afternoon of August 10, 2023, adding that "hundreds of homes" have been destroyed. Governor Green also said, "When you see the full extent of the destruction in Lahaina, it will shock you. *** It does appear like a bomb and fire went off." Rebuilding will likely take years and cost billions of dollars, according to early estimates.
Catastrophic damage and loss of life in the West Maui wildfires
Front Street in Lahaina has almost entirely been destroyed. On August 10, 2023, CNN reported that Governor Green said up to 80% of Lahaina may be lost, over 2200+ structures may have been destroyed, and the death toll may rise. At this time, 97 confirmed fatalities have been reported; making this one of the deadliest U.S. wildfires in over a century.
The fires have now become the deadliest natural disaster in the state's history, surpassing that of a tsunami that killed 61 people on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1960, a year after Hawaii joined the United States.
FEMA estimates over 2,200 structures impacted in West Maui
Flyovers on the evening of August 9, 2023, over Lahaina town by US Civil Air Patrol and the Maui Fire Department initially confirmed that more than 270 structures had been impacted or destroyed. Governor Green later suggested that the number is likely much higher, possibly over 1,000 structures were likely destroyed. However, FEMA maps now show over 2,200 structures were likely either damaged or destroyed in Lahaina.
Widespread damage to the West Maui town, the harbor, and the surrounding areas is being documented. Photos showing unbelievable destruction here.
2000+ acres scorched by wildfires
Approximately 2,170 acres burned in the catastrophic wildfires that broke out August 8, 2023, and ravaged Lahaina, according to initial assessments from the Pacific Disaster Center and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Maui Visitors Relocated Off-Island
Through the tireless efforts of Hawaii airline, hotel, and ground transportation partners, more than 14,000 people were moved off the island of Maui on August 9, 2023, to return home or continue with their vacation elsewhere in Hawai'i. By the end of August 10, 2023, it is estimated that an additional 14,500 people had been moved off Maui.
Postpone Travel to West Maui
The state has asked that all non-essential West Maui travel be postponed until October 8, 2023(see here for official notice).
All non-essential travel to West Maui (including Lahaina, Napili, Kaʻanapali, and Kapalua) is strongly discouraged through October 8, 2023.
Other areas of Maui (including Kahului, Wailuku, Kihei, Wailea, Makena, and Hana), and the other Hawaiian Islands, like Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Lanaʻi, and Hawaiʻi Island, remain open.
More information can be found on our Hawaii Travel Advisories page.
Hawaii Wildfire FAQ
Q: Which of the Hawaiian Islands are affected by the wildfires?
A: Wildfires have mainly affected Lahaina in West Maui. According to Governor Josh Green, all non-essential travel to West Maui (including Lahaina, Napili, Ka‘anapali, and Kapalua) is strongly discouraged through October 8, 2023. Hotels in West Maui have temporarily stopped accepting bookings of future reservations as they are housing their employees and families, evacuees, and first responders.
Other areas on Maui (including Kahului, Wailuku, Kihei, Wailea, Makena, Pa‘ia, and Hana) and the islands of Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Lana‘i, Moloka‘i, and Hawai‘i Island remain unaffected. We urge visitors to be especially mindful and respectful in our island home as our community continues through this tragedy.
Q: If I have a scheduled trip to Maui in the next few weeks, should I postpone my vacation?
A: Beyond West Maui, other areas on the island (including Kahului, Wailuku, Kihei, Wailea, Makena, Pa‘ia, and Hana), as well as the other Hawaiian Islands of Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Lanaʻi, Moloka‘i, and Hawai‘i Island remain open. Non-essential travel to West Maui (including Lahaina, Napili, Ka‘anapali, and Kapalua) is strongly discouraged through October 8, 2023.
Additional FAQ are answered by the Hawaii Tourism Authority here.
Wildfire Donations & How to Help
- Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement: In partnership with Alaka'ina Foundation Family of Companies and Kako'o Haleakala, CNHA, along with their partners, are matching up to $1,500,000 in community donations for families impacted by the wildfires on Maui. Your contribution will be doubled, effectively amplifying your support and providing critical assistance to families and businesses in Lahaina. Donate online here.
- Maui Humane Society: With the ongoing fires displacing both humans and animals, the Maui Humane Society is making an urgent appeal for assistance. From becoming an SOS Foster to donating pet supplies and joining support groups, there are several ways you can help. More information here.
- Maui Food Bank: Acting as a conduit for donated food and essential items for disaster relief, the Maui Food Bank collaborates with various relief organizations to distribute supplies throughout Maui County. This includes partnerships with Maui VOAD and the Feeding America Food Bank Network. Donate online here.
- The Salvation Army: The Salvation Army is actively providing food and resources to evacuees affected by the Hawaii wildfires. Donate online here.
- American Red Cross of Hawaii: Responding to the dangerous wildfires on the Big Island and Maui, the Red Cross is offering shelter, comfort, and assistance to those affected. Your support can help these vital relief efforts. Donate online here.
- The Hawaii Community Foundation started a Maui Strong Fund to support residents affected by the wildfires, which firefighting crews have battled in Lahaina, Pulehu/Kihei and Upcountry areas. Donations can be made here.
- Maui United Way is accepting donations to its Maui Fire and Disaster Relief fund here.
Additional Information & News
MauiNow - ongoing fire updates & video of damage
HawaiiNewsNow - Information on damage and ongoing news coverage
BeatofHawaii - Travel information for flights