Maui has been facing serious wildfires since Aug. 8, severely impacting vast stretches of the island. Specifically, the Lahaina fire consumed approximately 2,170 acres. As of Monday's statement from Maui County, Lahaina, an essential destination, has been notably affected, with its historical portions now decimated. The fire is currently 90% contained.
Additionally, the Olinda fire and the nearby Kula fire have burned an estimated 1,081 and 202 acres respectively. Both are about 85% contained. The Pulehu-Kihei fire was contained by Aug. 12. In total, the fires have impacted over 10 square miles of Maui's total 735 square miles.
The good news is the fires are not advancing, thanks to the Maui Fire Department's consistent efforts. But, the bad news, the Lahaina fire damaged or destroyed over 2,200 buildings, primarily residences. The rebuilding cost is estimated at $5.52 billion.
Travelers and residents in Lahaina and Upper Kula are advised to use only bottled or potable water due to a water advisory. Many in Lahaina and Kula are awaiting power restoration. Hawaii Electric is working on it, prioritizing essential services.
The region remains hazardous. Residents returning to burned areas are advised to exercise caution and wear protective equipment.
The human impact of the fires is significant. They have caused 115 deaths, with many more still missing. Local authorities and the FBI are collaborating to identify the missing.
Over 1,900 individuals have sought shelter in six Maui hotels, working with the American Red Cross.
Today, President Biden and Governor Green toured the impacted area of Lahaina. They held a press conference, which you can view here along with more updates from the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority. Please especially note Governor Green’s message at 12:02-12:47. He strongly advised visitors to avoid West Maui areas, such as Lahaina, Nāpili, Kāʻanapali, and Kapalua. However, he also emphasized that the rest of Maui remains safe.
In these challenging times, our thoughts are with those affected. We're here to assist and will keep you updated as the situation develops.