Maui News

Video Shows Just How Close Last Week’s Wildfire Came to Maui Animal Shelter

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Last Sunday, Aug. 30, staff at Maui Humane Society were alerted to a fast moving fire traveling across Puʻunēnē that was dangerously approaching the shelter. Fueled by strong winds and parched vegetation, the fire spread to an adjacent lot and the Maui Police Department ordered evacuation of both the shelter and the Central Maui Baseyard across the street.

“As smoke filled the air and black ash fell, staff stayed calm and focused, removing every dog, cat, kitten, critter and Freddie the tortoise from their kennels and veterinary clinic in just 20 minutes,” the organization shared in a newsletter.

A total of 68 animals were evacuated to Maui High School in Kahului where several animals were assessed and transferred to the nearby Maui Lani Veterinary Hospital and Central Maui Animal Clinic.


Animal Care Attendant Mahie Spenser shot video of the evacuation above, capturing the dramatic moment when a helicopter dropped water on flames burning next to the shelter as staff raced out of the driveway.

“It was amazing that our last shelter evacuation was just over a year ago, on July 11, 2019. Due to the impact of COVID, we’ve been focused on placing animals into foster homes and at the time of this evacuation had approximately 140 living with foster families. Maui Fire Department worked hard to fight the flames while we anxiously waited for news of the shelter’s fate,” the organization shared in a newsletter.
Staff and animals returned to the facility four hours later when fire officials deemed it safe to do so.  The fire burned a total of 1500 acres.  The cause was undetermined, however it occurred during a Red Flag Warning indicating critical wildfire conditions were present.


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