Maui wildfire disaster updates for Aug. 20: recovery crews prepare for wet weather

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VC: Wendy Osher (11:30 a.m. Aug. 20, 2023) interview with Maui Fire Chief Brad Ventura. More here.

Maui Wildfire Disaster updates for Aug. 20: HERE.

Recovery efforts continue on Maui where wildfires decimated the Historic Lahaina Town in West Maui, leaving a path of destruction spanning an estimated 3.5 square miles. Multiple fires on the island were sparked on Aug. 8, and were fueled by strong winds and dry air as a hurricane passed well south of the islands.  

Today, three of those fires remain active with crews monitoring for flare ups and hotspots. The death toll from the Lahaina fire remains at 114, with the identity of six victims publicly released by police since the investigation began. Search crews have now sifted through an estimated 85% of the inundation area.  The wildfire is described as the nation’s deadliest in 100 years.

FEMA has set up a disaster recovery center in Kahului. The public is reminded that the Lahaina Gateway distribution center for food, water and supplies, and the Wailuku Donation Center at the Queen Kaʻahumanu shopping center are closed on Sunday, Aug. 20. Both will resume operations on Monday, Aug. 21, 2023.

The 24-hour Nāpili Plaza resource distribution site will close at 8 p.m. starting Monday, Aug. 21. It will continue 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22. Sites will be merging in the near future; hours and locations will be announced soon.



  • Olinda fire 85% contained, 1,081 acres burned. The Maui Fire Department is assisting State Division of Forestry and Wildfire with this joint firefighting effort. A total of 27 firefighters, six engines, and other equipment are engaged in the battle. The perimeter is holding, with suppression focusing on extinguishing scattered hotspots, mainly in gulch areas.  
  • Kula fire 85% contained, 202 acres burned. 
  • Lahaina fire 90% contained, 2,170 acres burned. 

FATALITY UPDATE: 5 more victims publicly identified

The number of confirmed fatalities remained at 114 souls on Sunday, Aug. 20. Maui police have identified 11 individuals publicly following notification of next of kin. Victims of the Maui Wildfire Disaster include: Conchita Sagudang, 75, of Lahaina; Danilo Sagudang, 55, of Lahaina; Rodolfo Rocutan, 76, of Lahaina; Jonathan Somaoang, 76, of Lahaina; Angelita Vasquez, 88, of Lahaina; Donna Gomes, 71, of Lahaina; Melva Benjamin, 71, of Lahaina; Virginia Dofa, 90, of Lahaina; Alfredo Galinato, 79, of Lahaina; Robert Dyckman, 74, of Lahaina; and Buddy Jantoc, 79, of Lahaina.

Police say 16 other individuals have been identified, but their family has not been located or notified of their passing.

FAMILY ASSISTANCE CENTER (Due to privacy, no media allowed)


The Federal Bureau of Investigation continues to support victim identification efforts.  A Family Assistance Center is available to those seeking information on loved ones who remain unaccounted for. The center is located at the Hyatt Regency’s Monarchy Ballroom, 200 Nohea Kai Drive in Kāʻanapali, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Staff offers expanded resources and helps individuals to gather information and administer DNA swabs to assist with identification. For details, call 1-800-RED-CROSS. If you live on a neighbor island or the continental US, are the immediate family member (parent, sibling, or child) of a person missing as the result of the Maui wildfires, and you wish to provide a DNA sample to assist, call the Federal Bureau of Investigation Honolulu Division at 808-566-4300. 


An Unsafe Water Advisory remains in effect for Lahaina (map) and Upper Kula (map). Until further notice, residents in these areas should only use bottled water or potable water provided from tankers for things like drinking, brushing teeth, ice-making, and food preparation.  For potable water bring large water containers, at least 5 gallon capacity to:

  • Lahaina: Lahaina Gateway Center, Puamana, Kahoma Village, or Honokōhau.
  • Kula: Crater Road, Copp Road, Kula Fire Station, Rice Park, Kula Community Center, or Kēōkea.

Residents in impacted areas are not able to treat the water in any way to make it safe to consume, with contaminants such as benzene and other volatile organic chemicals entering the water system. Residents are further advised to: limit their use of hot water, reduce shower times while using lukewarm water in a ventilated area, not take baths, use a dishwasher and the air dry setting, wash clothes in cold water, dry laundry outdoors, avoid hot tubs or swimming pools, and use proper ventilation when using water indoors.

An updated map of the areas impacted by the Unsafe Water Advisory is available on the Department of Water Supply website, Water sampling will continue Sunday and beyond.



Currently, the disaster area is restricted to authorized personnel only. At this time, media and residents are not allowed in the disaster area as significant hazards exist. 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 clearance is received from authorities. 

Dangers include ash that may contain toxic and cancer-causing chemicals including asbestos, arsenic, and lead and debris including broken glass, exposed electrical wires, nails, wood, plastics, and other objects. Unstable buildings and structures may contain hazardous materials and could collapse causing injury. For those who can return to their properties County officials urge all individuals to utilize Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)  For more recommendations regarding PPE, including masks and associated hazards, go to

Recovery and other emergency response operators have been instructed to report any stray animal sightings to the Maui County Emergency Operations Center. The information will then be provided to Humane Society experts, so they can safely support the reported animals. The Maui Humane Society continues to search the perimeters of the affected area. 


Remnant moisture from post-tropical cyclone Fernanda is forecast to approach the state starting late Sunday, with the highest rainfall totals for windward and mountain slopes of Maui County expected to occur between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service. With the possibility of heavy rains and flooding on the horizon, the US Coast Guard and Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation have worked to deploy storm drain inlet protection devices and absorbent booms in several areas impacted by wildfires, including eight storm drain outfalls entering the ocean within the impacted areas of Lahaina town. The full story is posted HERE.

EMERGENCY SHELTERS (internet available, no media allowed inside)

An estimated 1,800 individuals are reported to be sheltered at six hotel locations around Maui as of Sunday, Aug. 20.  The Red Cross reports that displaced individuals still at congregate shelters has dwindled to just 16 people as of Sunday evening.

Shelters that still have displaced individuals include:

  • War Memorial Gymnasium, Wailuku
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Kahului 
  • South Maui Community Park Gymnasium, Kīhei 

An additional shelter is located at Kings Cathedral Church in Kahului. The shelter at the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center closed Sunday, Aug. 20, as no individuals were actively utilizing the shelter at that location. The full story is posted HERE.


Late-night access on the road to Lahaina is limited to West Maui residents, first responders, and West Maui employees from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. All motorists may enter from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The Maui Police Department will cite and tow vehicles parked at the Lahaina Bypass, where there are no-parking signs.


Maui Economic Opportunity will offer free rides for medical appointments for people impacted by the fires who are sheltering at the South Maui Community Park Gymnasium. The service, by reservation, operates daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reservations can be made from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at 808-877-7651. Daily county shuttle service is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for Central Maui shelters to go to Central Maui shopping and medical locations. Riders are required to call Roberts Hawai‘i for same-day reservations at 808-871-4838. Mobility devices accommodated. Luggage and bags will be limited to what can be carried. For all other transportation needs, riders may use The Maui Bus.


The ferry from Maui island to Lānaʻi continues to offer service from Māʻalaea Harbor to Mānele Bay three days a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday departing Māʻalaea at 1 p.m., Mānele at 3 p.m. The ferry service is a critical mode of transport, providing access to medical care for Lānaʻi residents, and access between the islands for first responders. Typically it operates out of Lahaina Harbor, which is closed due to the destruction that occurred during the recent wildfires. 


In coordination with State and County response efforts on Maui, Hawaiian Electric crews are working to restore critical circuits in West Maui that serve essential services. These include grocery stores and pharmacies, along with a County wastewater pumping facility in the Lahaina area. Once that circuit is restored, coordination between County response teams, individual businesses, and private properties will determine next steps toward respective reopening at these commercial facilities. Installation of a second mobile substation, which will serve the Launiupoko to Olowalu area, is continuing. This mobile substation takes time to install to ensure safe and reliable connection to the island’s electric system.


Two Kaiser Permanente First Aid Stations will permanently close on Sunday Aug. 20. The War Memorial Gymnasium station will close at 8 a.m., with the Nāpili Plaza station closing at 4 p.m.

Kaiser Permanente will continue to provide medical services to the public at locations in Lahaina listed below. Pharmacy courier services will be available at sites, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week.

  • Lahaina Gateway (closed Sunday, 8/20): Providing first aid, pediatric services, and OB/GYN services (Fridays only) 
  • First Aid Stations at the Hyatt Regency Lahaina, Lahaina Ballroom. 

Maui Health clinicians and physicians will continue providing first-aid, wound care, health and wellness checks and pharmacy services, including baby formula for all community members in need, regardless of health insurance, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Nāpili Plaza. The Lahaina Gateway Center clinic will be closed Sunday, Aug, 20, and will resume there 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. hours on Monday, Aug. 21. The Maui Health Community Medical Clinic will then move to Hyatt Regency Maui Resort from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Saturday, Aug. 26. For details, visit

Hawaii CARES 988 is a 24/7, free support service for help with crisis, mental health, and substance abuse. If you need mental health-related or addiction crisis support, or are worried about someone else, you can also call or text 988 (TTY 711) or visit the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline’s chat for free, confidential support with a trained crisis counselor. 


King Kekaulike High School is scheduled to reopen for staff on Monday, Aug. 21, with the anticipated return of students on Wednesday, Aug. 23.  


The county-run resource distribution sites at Lahaina Gateway Center and Queen Kaʻahumanu Center will be closed today, Aug. 20. Donations at QKC will also not be accepted when it is closed. Both sites and their operations will reopen on Monday, Aug. 21; Lahaina Gateway from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., QKC from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Upon reopening, QKC will accept donations of non-perishable food, bottled water, and hygiene products at the Kane Street entrance. No clothes at this time, please. The 24-hour Nāpili Plaza resource distribution site will close at 8 p.m. starting Monday, Aug. 21. It will continue 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22. Sites will be merging in the near future; hours and locations will be announced soon.


Mobile waste and hygiene facilities are now available for community-led resiliency hubs assisting with recovery efforts. These include: rubbish dumpsters (please no charred fire debris), cardboard recycling bins, portable toilets, handwashing stations, and mobile showers. Leaders of these hubs are asked to contact the Maui County Department of Environmental Management at 808-270-7880 or email with their requests. Supplies of these mobile hygiene and waste facilities are limited. We appreciate the patience of hub leaders as DEM works to allocate the appropriate resources to these hubs based on their needs and capacity. 


Maui residents affected by the recent wildfires can apply for federal disaster assistance, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency at a joint Disaster Recovery Center that operates daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the University of Hawai‘i Maui College, 310 W. Kaʻahumanu Ave., Kahului. Speak to FEMA specialists, get help registering for disaster assistance, connect with volunteer organizations, and have access to federal and state resources.

ONLINE RESOURCE HUB: Donation and Volunteer information

An online, centralized hub to respond to the impacts of the Maui Wildfire Disaster is available at . The County of Maui’s “Maui Nui Strong” site offers information on how to donate, volunteer, offer services, and locate support. It is administered through the County’s Office of Economic Development, and will be utilized to connect people to resources and services.


Text, not talk, is best for locations that have connectivity. Maui County updates will now be aired daily at noon on local radio stations.


The County of Maui Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing’s Lahaina Satellite Office will reopen Monday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lahaina Gateway Center, 325 Keawe St., to assist West Maui residents whose Hawaiʻi driver’s licenses or Hawaiʻi State Identification cards have been lost or destroyed by wildfires. The daily satellite office opened 8/16. For more information, call 808-270-7363.

Since Thursday (Aug. 17), FEMA has been using excavators to clear large debris from certain properties in Lahaina. This is to allow cadaver dogs access to double-check for human remains. Kevin Galt, a FEMA Urban Search & Rescue Safety Officer explains more. VC: DLNR

MEO Human Services and Maui Bus ADA Paratransit to resume trips to West Maui
Update: 9:39 a.m., Aug. 20, 2023

PC: MEO Human Services and Maui Bus ADA Paratransit to resume trips to West Maui

Maui Economic Opportunity Human Services and Maui Bus ADA Paratransit buses will resume trips to, from and within West Maui beginning Tuesday, Aug. 22.

Reservations can begin to be made on Monday, Aug. 21, by calling 808-877-7651.

Both services had been suspended since Tuesday due to the wildfires in Lahaina. Buses will not be traveling to restricted areas of the town.

ADA Paratransit operated by MEO is the Maui Bus Americans With Disability Act service which operates origins and destinations within corridors whose boundaries extend three-fourths of a mile on each side of a Maui Bus fixed route.  Users must be a qualified and registered rider of the program.  Buses run every day, including holidays, from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., depending on the location.

The curb-to-curb service is by reservation only for next day travel.

The county-funded MEO Human Services system provides more specialized transportation with rides for low-income and rural residents, kupuna, youth and persons with disabilities on Maui, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi without charge to doctor’s appointments, dialysis, youth centers after school, employment and other destinations.

Human Services buses run 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday depending on destination and type of service.  Like paratransit, services are by reservation-only with assistance for persons with disabilities.

Coordinated Donation Management Center for Maui fire victims opens on Oʻahu
Update: 5:58 a.m., Aug. 20, 2023

The Maui Relief Storage Facility will serve as a coordinated donation management center to receive, sort and inventory donations collected for Maui residents impacted by the wildfires and store them until they are ready to be transported and received on Maui. PC: The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement

The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement has opened a 30,000 square foot Maui Relief Storage Facility in Hakuone at Kaka‘ako Makai. The warehouse space was launched in coordination with Hawaiʻi Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

The coordinated donation management center will receive, sort and inventory donations collected for Maui residents impacted by the wildfires and store them until they are ready to be transported and received on Maui.

The Maui Relief Storage Facility on Oʻahu will work directly with Maui’s donation management center, that opened on Monday, Aug. 14, to ensure that relief supplies are coordinated and prioritized, and that what is needed on Maui is getting there as expeditiously as possible.   Full story HERE.


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