Maui wildfire update 6: Number of dead now at 80; fires in Lāhainā, Pūlehu/Kīhei and Upcountry continue
Update at 10:08 p.m. Friday: The death toll in the deadly wildfires on Maui has climbed again and now stands at 80 confirmed fatalities.
Firefighters continue working to extinguish flare-ups and contain fires in Lāhainā, Pūlehu/Kīhei and Upcountry Maui.
A Ka’anapali fire reported above Puʻukoliʻi at 6:10 p.m. Friday was reported to be 100% contained before 8:30 p.m. The fire is in the area where a Maui County fueling station was positioned Friday to distribute an estimated 3,000 gallons of gas and 500 gallons of diesel for an estimated 400 vehicles lined up before the operation began.
No fuel will be distributed Saturday.
Police are restricting access into West Maui through Ma’alaea and Waihe’e. Honoapiʻilani Highway is open for vehicles leaving Lāhainā. The burned historic Lāhainā area remains barricaded, with people warned to stay out of the area because of hazards including toxic particles from smoldering areas. Wearing a mask and gloves is advised.
A Family Assistance Center for family members looking for information about loved ones who are unaccounted for will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Kahului Community Center.
The County Department of Transportation is coordinating buses to transport people staying at emergency shelters to the County Department of Motor Vehicles and Licensing, which will be open for special hours from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday so shelter occupants can have their driver’s licenses and state identification cards reissued. Fees will be waived.
On Friday, a total of 1,418 people were at emergency evacuation shelters at War Memorial Gymnasium, Hannibal Tavares Community Center, Maui High School, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Maui Lani, Kings Cathedral Church and Grace Bible Church.
Additional cellphone service was becoming available in West Maui. Cellphone users are reminded to text not talk so everyone can share the limited resources.
For organizations and individuals wanting to offer services or donations to aid in rescue and relief efforts, an online tool is available. Information can be found here to be used to help organize and deploy resources.
Update at 3:54 p.m. Friday: The Lāhainā fire is now 85% contained, the Pūlehu/Kīhei fire is now 80% contained and the Upcountry Maui fire is 50% contained. Firefighters continue battling flare-ups in all three fires.
The number of fatalities remains confirmed at 67. The Federal Emergency Management Agency Urban Search and Rescue Team, with expertise in human remains, is being deployed to Maui from Arizona and Nevada. Five dogs are being used.
Barricades remain in place around Lāhainā town, with police officers posted to keep people out of the areas. Health officials advise that burning areas are highly toxic. Inhalation of dust and other airborne particles can be a health hazard.
Hot spots still exist. Wearing a mask and gloves is advised.
With additional cellphone service becoming available in West Maui, people are reminded to text instead of making phone calls so everyone can share the limited resources.
Shuttles are operating from Kahului Airport and the three American Red Cross emergency shelters at Maui High School, War Memorial Gymnasium and Hannibal Tavares Community Center to take visitors to West Maui to retrieve belongings so they can depart Maui. One member of a family is allowed on the shuttles, which are going to hotels in the Ka’anapali and Kapalua/Napili areas.
Visitor access is being allowed only to retrieve luggage and identification, not for staying at hotels.
Those dropped off by the shuttle are being picked up an hour later and returned to the locations where they were picked up.
Update at 3:05 p.m. Friday: The Hawaiʻi Department of the Attorney General will conduct a comprehensive review of critical decision-making and standing policies leading up to, during and after the destructive and deadly wildfires on Maui and other wildfires on the Big Island this week.
“The Department of the Attorney General shares the grief felt by all in Hawaiʻi and our hearts go out to everyone affected by this tragedy,” said Hawaiʻi Attorney General Anne Lopez. “My department is committed to understanding the decisions that were made before and during the wildfires and to sharing with the public the results of this review. As we continue to support all aspects of the ongoing relief effort, now is the time to begin this process of understanding.”
Update at 1:27 p.m. Friday: The number of confirmed deaths in the devastating Maui wildfires has increased to 67 amid a still active Lāhainā fire.
As firefighting efforts continue, 12 additional fatalities were confirmed as of 1 p.m. today. Thirty-six fatalities were confirmed Aug. 9. Another 19 were confirmed Aug. 10.
The Lāhainā fire is not yet contained. No other details are available at this time.
Update at 12:58 p.m. Friday: The U.S. Coast Guard, along with federal, state and local partners, continues to respond to the devastating and deadly wildfires on Maui.
To date, the Coast Guard has searched throughout 15 hours, covering more than 450 square nautical miles.
The Coast Guard has saved 17 lives, with 40 additional survivors located and assisted ashore by Coast Guard Station Maui. The Coast Guard does not have any confirmed missing people in the water. Aircrews and surface assets have searched the area continuously since initial reports of a maritime emergency were received the evening of Aug. 8.
“From the initial report of potential persons in the water, we have pursued an aggressive search of the shoreline and surrounding area,” said Capt. Aja Kirksey, sector commander of Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “This has been an extremely difficult time for the community and our crews, and we are giving our best effort to ensure that if there is someone in the water awaiting our assistance, we will find them.”
The Coast Guard intends to transition to other missions later this evening, unless additional information warrants continuing searches. As a multi-mission agency, the Coast Guard will continue to lead teams and surface assets engaged in ensuring maritime safety in the surrounding area, assessing and restoring the waterway and coordinating the pollution removal from the sensitive marine habitats in affected areas.
“We offer our condolences to the community of Lāhainā and all those impacted by this tragedy,” Kirksey said. “In coordination with our partners, we remain committed to the safety of the public and our responders and we remain postured and ready to respond to any new reports.”
Involved in the search effort were:
- U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point MH-65 Dolphin helicopters.
- U.S. Coast Guard cutters Kimball, Juniper and Joseph Gerczak.
- U.S. Coast Guard Station Maui.
- U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team Honolulu.
- U.S. Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37.
- Hawai’i Department of Land and Natural Resources.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- Eight good Samaritan vessels
Update at 9:50 a.m. Friday: Residents of West Maui with identification showing proof of residency and visitors with proof of hotel reservations will have access to Lāhainā via Maʻalaea beginning at noon today, with measures in place designed to secure the devastated area of historic Lāhainā.
These measures include no unauthorized public access beyond barricaded areas and a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily in Lāhainā and affected areas. The curfew is intended to protect residences and property.
Access to Lāhainā at Maʻalaea will be closed at 10 p.m. and reopened at 6 a.m. daily.
West Maui remains without power and water, and search crews continue efforts in the Lāhainā for victims of the wildfire.
Original story: As of early Friday morning, firefighters on Maui continued working to extinguish flare-ups and contain fires in Lāhainā, Pūlehu/Kīhei and the Upcountry.
The death toll in the devastating natural disaster was at 55 early this morning after two more deaths were added to the total late Thursday night.
The Lāhainā remained at 80% contained while the Pūlehu/Kīhei fire was still 70% contained. There was no estimate on the Upcountry fire.
Hawaiʻi Gov. Josh Green, Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaiʻi, Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara and various federal and county government officials joined together Thursday on Maui to provide a coordinated update on the status of Maui’s damage and ongoing efforts to support those affected by the wildfires.
“What we saw today was likely the largest natural disaster in Hawai‘i state history,” said Green. “It’s going to take a great deal of time to recover from this, but we have the support from every level of government all the way up to the federal level, especially given President [Joe] Biden’s approval of my disaster declaration request today. It will be a tremendous effort, but we will come together as a community and begin working toward rebuilding from this tragedy.”
The firefighting effort has been bolstered by 21 firefighters from the Honolulu Fire Department, seven supervisory personnel and four vehicles. A nine-member search-and-rescue team also arrived on island. A Federal Emergency Management Agency search-and-rescue team with the Nevada Task Force arrived last night with two K-9 cadaver dogs.
Six emergency shelters remain open at the War Memorial Gymnasium in Wailuku, Hannibal Tavares Community Center in Pukalani and Maui High School, King’s Cathedral Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Maui Lani and Grace Bible Church in Kahului.
More than 1,350 people were being served by the shelters Thursday.
Food, water, supplies and clothing will be distributed to residents from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. A limited supply of baby products will also be given out. Donations of non-perishable food, bottled water, hygiene items and blankets are being accepted from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today at the War Memorial Complex. Also needed are slippers, men’s underwear, clothing, pillows, large duffel bags and storage containers.
To donate to charitable organizations supporting Maui residents in need, click here.
The Maui County Council’s Housing and Land Use Committee will meet Aug. 16 to address emergency housing and shelter for residents displaced by the recent fires.
“This is an unprecedented disaster the likes of which our community has never seen, and one which I hope we never see again,” said committee Chairwoman Tasha Kama. “Even as police are doing their heart-wrenching but important work of search and recovery, we must move quickly to gauge the need and provide housing for our displaced residents.”
Power was restored to all Upcountry water pumping stations Thursday. Water will be restored after lines are flushed.
There is still no power in West Maui. About 12,400 customers remain offline. Some cellphone service was available in West Maui today. If you have a cell signal and cannot make a call, try texting instead.
A Maui Oil tanker parked on the side of the road in North Kaʻanapali provided fuel for West Maui residents from noon to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, pumping 370 gallons of diesel and 2,198 gallons of gas.
Visitors wanting to leave Maui are asked to book a flight with an airline. Travelers can book flights to Honolulu, then continue on another flight. Twenty-five buses operating a shuttle service from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday transported more than 1,200 visitors from Kaʻanapali hotel areas to Kahului Airport. On Thursday, 14,900 visitors left on flights departing Maui.