Maui wildfire disaster updates for Aug. 24: underwater search, temporary school sites announced

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Background image (8.10.23) Cammy Clark / Maui Now.

Maui Wildfire Disaster updates for Aug. 24: 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.  The wildfire is described as the nation’s deadliest in 100 years.

Today, crews are conducting an underwater search of a four mile stretch of shoreline from Puamana Beach Park to Wahikuli Wayside Park, looking for human remains associated with the Aug. 8 wildfire in Lahaina. Six more people have been identified out of the 115 confirmed dead; and more than 1,000 remain unaccounted for. The state Department of Education has identified temporary school sites in Central and South Maui for displaced students who had been enrolled at one of four public schools in Lahaina.

VC: DLNR Hawaiʻi (8.23.23) / Edit by Wendy Osher


  • Olinda fire: 85% contained, 1,081 acres burned.
  • Kula fire: 85% contained, 202 acres burned. MFD crews have been extinguishing hot spots using hand crews and a helicopter. Fire activity is mostly located in hard-to-reach gulches. Flareups and reports of smoke have been well within the burn area, and have not posed any threat to public safety or fire expansion, according to county officials.
  • Lahaina fire: 90% contained, 2,170 acres burned. There are no noteworthy flareups in recent days.

The Maui Fire Department advises the public that complete extinguishment for Upcountry fires may take an extended time given the large burn area, and the nature of the rural terrain. Although containment percentages have not changed over recent days, MFD continues to reassure the public there are no “active threats” among the three ongoing fires. 



There are 115 confirmed fatalities with 100% single-story residential properties searched in the disaster area. Teams have transitioned to searching multi-story residential and commercial properties. 341 emergency personnel and 50 canine units are conducting the search.

Excavators and other heavy machines are currently only being used in the Lahaina disaster area to assist emergency responders with the search and recovery process. Emergency crews are using heavy machines to move debris, including vehicles and building materials, so that first responders can safely examine properties as part of the search and recovery process. Heavy machines are not being used for any debris removal operations, and no debris removal operations are underway in Lahaina this time.

Maui police have identified 35 individuals publicly following notification of next of kin, including eight additional individuals on Thursday evening. Victims of the Maui wildfire disaster include:

Todd Nakamura, 61, of Lahaina; Bernard Portabes, 75, of Lahaina; Tony Takafua, 7, of Lahaina; Salote Tone, 39, of Lahaina; Faaoso Tone, 70, of Lahaina; Maluifonua Tone, 73, of Lahaina; Bette Jo Dyckman, 73, of Lahaina; Rebecca Rans, 57, of Lahaina; Tau Ponali, 66, of Lahaina; Valerie Kauffman, 78, of Lahaina; Salvador Coloma, 77, of Lahaina; Carlo Tobias, 54, of Lahaina; Albert Kitaguchi, 62, of Lahaina; Lynn Manibog, 74, of Lahaina; Clyde Wakida, 74, of Lahaina; Todd Yamafuji, 68, of Lahaina; Antonia Molina, 64, of Lahaina; Freeman Tam Lung, 80, of Lahaina; Theresa Cook, 72, of California; Joseph Schilling, 67, of Lahaina; Narciso Baylosis Jr., 67, of Lahaina; Vanessa Baylosis, 67, of Lahaina; Douglas Gloege, 59, of Lahaina; Juan Deleon, 45, of Lahaina; 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 11 other individuals have been identified, but their family has not been located or notified of their passing.

The FBI reports the number of unaccounted for will fluctuate as they merge lists from various sources. On Tuesday afternoon, the agency said the unaccounted for list had the names of between 1,000 and 1,100 individuals.


The Environmental Protection Agency began work on Wednesday to remove and dispose of hazardous waste from properties affected by the wildfires in Kula. This work included surveying, removing, and disposing of hazardous waste materials such as: paints, cleaners, solvents, oils, batteries, and pesticides.

A second phase will remove fuel from pressurized cylinders/tanks and items thought to have asbestos. During work, EPA will conduct air monitoring for particulate matter and air sampling for heavy metals and asbestos.


Information about hazardous waste removal in the Lahaina disaster area will be made available later. The full story is posted HERE.


The Unsafe Water Advisory remains in effect for Lahaina and Upper Kula. A new, interactive map depicting the precise location of the Unsafe Water Advisory is now available HERE.

Unsafe water map via County of Maui / Department of Water Supply.

Residents can type in their address to see if their property is located within the affected area. Until further notice, residents in these areas of Lahaina and Kula 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 please 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. 


More than 2,700 individuals are sheltered at 11 hotel locations around Maui, in coordination with the American Red Cross. Nearly 154,000 meals have been served to date by the Salvation Army and American Red Cross at shelters throughout the disaster response. The current shelter locations include:

  • Hyatt Regency Maui – 200 Nohea Kai Drive, Lahaina
  • Royal Lahaina – 2780 Kekaʻa Drive, Lahaina
  • Honua Kai Outrigger – 130 Kai Malina Parkway, Lahaina
  • Outrigger Kāʻanapali Beach Resort – 2525 Kāʻanapali Parkway, Lahaina
  • Aston Kāʻanapali Shores – 3445 Lower Honoapiʻilani Road, Lahaina
  • Fairmont Kea Lani – 4100 Wailea Alanui Drive, Wailea 
  • Westin Maui – 2365 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina
  • Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort – 3550 Wailea Alanui Drive, Wailea
  • Maui Beach Hotel – 170 West Kaʻahumanu Ave., Kahului
  • Maui Seaside Hotel – 100 W Kaʻahumanu Ave., Kahului
  • Aston Maui Kāʻanapali Villas: 45 Kai Ala Drive, Lahaina

To qualify for shelter and financial assistance, you must first register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This can be done at a joint Disaster Recovery Center that operates daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College, 310 W. Kaʻahumanu Ave., Pilina Building, Kahului. You can also call 800-621-3362, visit, or apply through the FEMA smartphone application. 

To date, over 9,400 FEMA assistance registrations have been received, with nearly $12.25 million in federal housing and individual assistance provided. 

American Red Cross is additionally offering financial assistance for survivors of the Maui wildfires, including those in shelters. Many of the FEMA registrants mentioned above have been contacted via email, text, or phone regarding this assistance. If you have not been contacted, additional appointments will be made available, with scheduling details next week. For more information, call the American Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767.

The State Department of Human Services announced an additional 250 Air BnB units are available to displaced residents or families on Maui for 21-day stays. Go to Lahaina Gateway Center through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., to pre-register. 

Landlords, management companies, and homeowners from across the state have offered to rent more than 900 houses, apartment units and rooms immediately to the thousands of Maui residents who lost their homes to the wildfires. For assistance call 808-587-0469 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or email [email protected].

Home, Business, Physical, and Economic Injury disaster loans are available from the US Small Business Administration as a result of impacts from the Maui wildfires. For more information visit . Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email [email protected] for more information on SBA financial disaster assistance.

Hawaiʻi Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs will be temporarily waiving registration fees for businesses affected by the wildfires. The waiver is in effect through Dec. 31, 2023, and applies to fees for obtaining certificates of good standing and copies of business registrations documents filed with the division. 


Beginning today, Aug. 24, a new Maui Bus “West Maui Express” Route #29 will provide hourly service between Kapalua, the Queen Kaʻahumanu Center, and Kāʻanapali beginning daily at 5:30 a.m. For the exact route schedule, please visit or use the free Maui Bus app. The following Maui Bus routes are still suspended until further notice:

  • Lahaina Islander #20
  • Lahaina Villager #23
  • Kāʻanapali Islander #25
  • West Maui Islander #28

The Maui County Department of Transportation also announced that all Maui Bus fares for the Maui Bus Fixed Route, ADA Paratransit, and Commuter Service have been suspended due to the ongoing emergency.  All services will continue to remain free of charge until further notice. 

Maui Economic Opportunity Human Services and Maui Bus ADA Paratransit buses resumed trips to, from, and within West Maui. Buses will not be traveling to restricted areas. The Human Services system provides rides for low-income and rural residents, kupuna, youth, persons with disabilities and those living outside the paratransit service area 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. Paratransit buses run every day, including holidays, from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., depending on the location, in conjunction with Maui Bus routes. Both services require riders to be registered and approved prior to making a reservation. Applications are found at; reservations can be made by calling 808-877-7651.

A free Kāʻanapali Circulator Shuttle is available for people who are staying at any of the American Red Cross hotel shelters in West Maui, including the Hyatt Regency Maui, Outrigger Kāʻanapali Beach Resort, Royal Lahaina, Honua Kai and the Westin Maui in Kāʻanapali. The circulator shuttle runs in a continuous loop and is available daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. It connects the shelters to various services located at the different hotels, including the Family Assistance Center, located at the Hyatt Regency Maui. The shuttle is being operated by Roberts Hawai‘i.

Hawai‘i Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration are making $3 million available for recovery of West Maui infrastructure and traffic management, with a portion of this to be invested in a 30,000-foot dust screen around Lahaina, according to HDOT.

Late-night, vehicular access into Lahaina is limited to West Maui residents, first responders, and West Maui employees from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Evening road blocks on Honoapiʻilani Highway (Highway 30) are located at Māʻalaea and Waiheʻe. 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.

Uber is now working with the American Red Cross to provide rides (up to $40) to people in hotel shelters on Maui who do not have transportation options. To redeem the discount, riders must apply the promo code “MAUI23” in the Wallet section of their Uber app prior to requesting the ride, which is valid for UberX or UberXL.


  • Lahaina Gateway, 325 Keawe St., Lahaina: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday. Mobile health vehicle present. Food and supplies will only be distributed to West Maui residents. Starting today, Aug. 24, volunteers will be requiring proof of residency.
  • Queen Kaʻahumanu Center donation drop-off and pick-up site, parking lot fronting Ka’ahumanu Avenue and Kane Street: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday. Non-perishable food, water and disposable kitchen supplies wanted; no clothing donations. 


  • Kahului: 150 South Puʻunēnē Ave., 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturday
  • Wailuku: Parking lot next to Living Way Church at the corner of Market and Mokuhau streets in Happy Valley, 10 to 11:30 a.m. Friday

In addition, the Maui Humane Society reports having distributed more than 17,000 lbs of pet food and supplies to pet owners affected by the wildfires. They continue to offer these goods, as well, at veterinary services, at several distribution sites island-wide. Visit for the latest distribution locations.


Kaiser Permanente first aid stations are available at Hyatt Regency Lahaina, Maui Suites, Promenade Lower Level. Pharmacy courier services available. Open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Closed Sundays.

A Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) replacement benefit is available for recipients who experienced loss of food as a result of the recent wildfires. To apply for SNAP replacement benefits, please visit the Processing Center in your area or call the Public Assistance Information Line at 1-855-643-1643.

The Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (EPAP) helps uninsured people after disasters to be sure they still have the medicines and medical equipment they normally use to stay healthy. To enroll, call 1-855-793-7470 or visit for more information from the US Department of Health and Human Services. 

The Hawai‘i Department of Health launched a call center to connect impacted residents with non-emergency medical services, mental health support, and other services. Survivors can call 808- 586-4468, Monday through Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Hawaii CARES 988 is a 24/7 support service for help with crisis, mental health, and substance abuse. If you, a family member (including keiki), or someone you know needs confidential assistance with a trained crisis counselor, please call/text 988(TTY 711) or visit the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline’s chat.


For those seeking information regarding loved ones or those who are unaccounted for, the Family Assistance Center (FAC) is located at the Hyatt Regency’s Monarchy Ballroom, 200 Nohea Kai Drive in Lahaina. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Agencies and organizations currently available at the FAC include: 

  • FEMA Disaster Assistance
  • US Small Business Administration
  • American Red Cross
  • Salvation Army
  • Maui County Department of Housing and Human Concerns
  • Maui Economic Opportunity—Emergency Financial Assistance
  • Tzu Chi Foundation—Emergency Financial Assistance
  • Maui County Bar Association—Legal Information
  • United Way of Maui
  • Health, Mental Health, and Spiritual Care services

If you are unable to locate or connect with a loved one who has been impacted by a recent disaster, and cannot visit the FAC, please call 1-800-733-2767 and select Option 4 to follow the voice prompts for “Hawaiʻi Wildfires.” Provide as much detail as possible to assist in potentially locating your missing loved one. Call volume is high and callers may experience longer wait times.

If you live on a neighbor island or the continental US, are the immediate family member of a person missing as the result of the Maui wildfires, and you wish to provide a DNA sample to assist, please call the Federal Bureau of Investigation Honolulu Division at 808-566-4300. 

DNA samples are only for identification of wildfire victims and survivors, and will not be stored or used for any other purpose. In some cases, this information may be the best way to determine identification with regards to the destructive nature of the wildfires.

The Family Assistance Center has received reports about Maui community members receiving calls from individuals or organizations claiming to be with “DNA Services.” These telephone calls are scams, and anyone receiving them should hang up immediately and report them to the Maui Police Department’s non-emergency number at 808-244-6400.


Hawaiian Electric Co. energized a second mobile substation in Lahaina area as crews work to restore a majority of serviceable West Maui customers by this weekend and continue to safely rebuild sections of Maui’s electric grid. About 1,800 West Maui customers and approximately 50 Upcountry customers remain without power.

When attempting to connect with loved ones in areas of low cell phone or internet connectivity, it is best to text not call. Though there is coverage in these areas, the capacity is still building, which can result in dropped calls. Maui County updates will continue to be aired daily at noon on local radio stations.


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 you receive a clearance from authorities. 

Dangers include ash that may contain toxic, cancer-causing chemicals including asbestos, arsenic, and lead with 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, 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 the Maui Humane Society so they can safely retrieve, rehabilitate, and support the reported animals. This protocol has already resulted in the rescue and treatment of animals in the disaster area. 


King Kekaulike High School reopened for freshman on Wednesday, Aug. 23, with sophomores, juniors and seniors returning Thursday, Aug. 24. Four public schools in Lahaina were impacted by the wildfires and closed the morning of Aug. 8: King Kamehameha III Elementary, Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary, Lahaina Intermediate, and Lahainaluna High. The Kamehameha III campus was damaged to the point of disrepair, while the other three sustained wind damage. Central and South Maui schools have been designated as temporary school sites for impacted Lahaina students displaced by wildfire. For State Department of Education information and resources to assist those impacted by the wildfires, please visit:

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. For any additional questions, or to talk to a county representative regarding the Maui Wildfire Disaster, call 808-270-7285.


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