Lahaina Front Street photo journey: West Maui wildfire aftermath
August 10, 2023, 2:37 AM HST
* Updated August 11, 9:20 AM
A devastating wildfire sparked by gusty winds from a passing hurricane, left Maui’s Lahaina Town in an unrecognizable state. The popular tourist destination in the historic district of West Maui was described in media reports as being “flattened by fire” with businesses gutted and cars abandoned, leaving charred trees along a now shadeless and shambled path. Remaining is an ashy imprint of a moment in time, captured in these photos of what is now a present day reality.
In its former glory, Lahaina once served as the capital of the islands and was home to King Kamehameha III, Kauikeaouli. In the 1800s it gained notoriety as a whaling town, and vacation spot for Mark Twain.
In more recent years, souvenir shops, art galleries and restaurants were mixed among cultural properties like the Wo Hing Temple and Baldwin Home Museum.
One of its oldest residents, a 150 year old banyan tree had sheltered many a hālau, art sale, and festival over the years. An aerial image showed a blackened tree at the center, and it’s longtime neighbors, Pioneer Inn and Wharf Cinema Center were visibly absent on the perimeter.
A treasured ‘Olelo No‘eau (Hawaiian proverb-compiled by Mary Kawena Pukui) brings back visions of Lele (the old name for Lahaina) as it once was. And the imagery of the phrase: “Lahaina i ka malu ʻulu o Lele – Lahaina lies in the shade of the breadfruit trees of Lele,” rekindles memories of a vibrant and cherished place.
Brush fire updates: https://tinyurl.com/zy8mnb99
List: closed/cancelled/postponed: https://tinyurl.com/4b28993k
School closure updates: https://tinyurl.com/f6jh372w
Power outage updates: https://tinyurl.com/yn8pkhzx
Road closure updates: https://tinyurl.com/487vhcsn