Maui County coordinating help for pets, animals impacted by wildfires

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The Maui Humane Society is helping pet owners struggling financially during the pandemic to keep their pets. Photo Courtesy: Maui Humane Society

Eleven days after the fire raged through Lahaina, recovery and other emergency response operators have been instructed on Saturday to report any stray animal sightings to the Maui County Emergency Operations Center.

The information will be provided to the Maui Humane Society to safely support the reported animals. At this time, media and residents are not allowed in the disaster area because of significant hazards. 

The Maui Humane Society continues to search the perimeters of the affected area, and has set up feeding and water stations to attempt to lure out animals that are scared and hiding.


Many animals, especially cats, will show remarkable abilities to survive the fire; however, it is important to continually observe and monitor pets and animals.

Surviving pets and animals from the burn site may have burns, physical injuries and exposure to hazardous materials and may have inhaled, absorbed through injured skin, or ingested ash and hazardous substances, such as asbestos or hazardous chemicals. 

If you encounter a stray animal impacted by a fire, it should first be stabilized if severely dehydrated, unable to walk, in shock or appears otherwise severely ill. Once stabilized, pets and animals should be decontaminated by responders, including bathing with water and a mild shampoo until all visible ash is removed.


After decontamination, some pets may need to be hospitalized, but most will be able to be returned to the owner or to an emergency pet shelter. 

Once properly decontaminated, the pets are not hazardous to their owners or handlers. Pets should be observed closely for several weeks and treated by a veterinarian if signs of illness are observed. While there could be long-term health consequences, most surviving pets will be able to live normal lives. 

Maui Humane Society is the main emergency shelter on the island and currently is providing shelter and emergency care to 88 animals affected by the fires. If pets need to be taken off-island or need emergency assistance or placement, the humane society can also assist with those efforts.


Recognizing that some families are displaced and may need temporary assistance with sheltering pets, Home to Home and Bissell Pet Foundation’s Animal Incident Management Initiative are assisting with finding temporary placement.

Home to Home is also offering temporary foster care, which is now open to all animals including horses and lizards and everything in between. To register your pet on Home to Home or to create a profile to foster a pet:

  • Visit
  • Click “Foster Your Pet” or “Become a Foster Home” to create a profile
  • Fill in as much information to find a good match faster
  • Potential fosters can browse pet profiles and will directly contact pet owners to initiate the fostering process

At shelters, the American Red Cross is working on pet reunification efforts. There are currently 71 pets housed with families in non-congregate shelters. For families who want to relinquish their pets, Hawaii Animal Rescue Foundation is coordinating taking animals to no-kill shelters.

For additional information or questions, please contact the Maui Humane Society by calling 808-877-3680 or emailing [email protected]

For those accessing areas outside of the disaster area, the county urges individuals to continue to avoid all burn areas and do not enter any areas where structures were burned until you receive a clearance from authorities. 


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