August 2023 Wildfires
The Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency is supporting wildfire response and recovery efforts in Hawai‘i and Maui counties, including the extensive damage in Lāhainā.
This page will be updated regularly to reflect new information.
- Visit Maui County’s comprehensive website with information on how to get relief, volunteer, and make donations: https://www.mauinuistrong.info/
- For the most recent updates on Maui, visit the County of Maui website: https://www.mauicounty.gov/
- Civic alerts (most updated information): https://www.mauicounty.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx
- The Hawai‘i Department of Health has created a central Maui Wildfire Response page with information on resources for medical & behavioral health and health advisories: https://health.hawaii.gov/mauiwildfires/
- For updates on Hawai‘i Island, visit the Hawaiʻi County website: https://www.hawaiicounty.gov/
- Disaster-related Emergency Proclamations are viewable here: https://governor.hawaii.gov/category/newsroom/
- View news releases from the Office of the Governor here: https://governor.hawaii.gov/category/newsroom/office-of-the-governor-press-releases/
- View general State of Hawaiʻi news releases here: https://governor.hawaii.gov/category/newsroom/
- View updates from the Governor: https://www.instagram.com/govjoshgreen/
- View Governor Green’s 8/16 Executive Memorandum here: https://dod.hawaii.gov/hiema/files/2023/08/2308048-electronic.pdf
The State of Hawaiʻi and Maui County have launched the Maui Disaster Support Call Center. The call center can be reached at (808) 727-1550 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and provides a central assistance hub for community members affected by the Maui wildfires.
Emergency Management Agencies
Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA)
Maui Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Support Wildfire Relief
Note: Due to physical capacity limitations, please consider making financial, rather than in-kind, donations. Mahalo for all your support.
Numerous community organizations are organizing relief efforts for those affected by the fires in Maui and Hawai‘i counties.
There may also be those who try to take advantage of the public’s goodwill and seek to defraud donors. Before donating, avoid scams by keeping the following tips in mind:
- Donate to trusted, well-known charities. Beware of scammers who create fake charities during natural disasters. Always verify a charity’s legitimacy through its official website. If someone is fundraising on behalf of a charity you are familiar with, the best practice is to donate directly to that charity.
- Verify that the charity is legitimate. Any charity that solicits donation in Hawai‘i must be registered with the Department of the Attorney General, and its status can be verified here. There are a number of independent online sources you can use to verify that a charity is legitimate, including the following:
- IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search: https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/
- Charity Navigator: https://www.charitynavigator.org/
- DCCA Business Search: https://hbe.ehawaii.gov/documents/search.html
- Stay away from suspicious donation requests and be mindful of the following scammer’s tactics:
- Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. Take your time to do your research.
- Asking you to make a donation using cash or gift card. Most legitimate charities will accept credit card and check donations.
- Using names that sound a lot like the names of real charities. This is one reason it pays to do some research before giving.
- Scammers make lots of vague and sentimental claims but give no specifics about how your donation will be used.
To ensure that relief actually assists those in need, the State of Hawai‘i offers the following recommendations:
- Financial donations to a trusted nonprofit organization are best.
- They are easy and inexpensive to transport
- They don’t take up warehouse space
- Nonprofits can purchase exactly the items needed, and may be able to obtain them in bulk at a discount, stretching the donations to cover more people
- Items bought locally can support the local economy
- Please do not donate used clothing; most nonprofits do not have laundry facilities or staff/volunteers to manage those donations.
- If you find a nonprofit that accepts food donations, non-perishable items are preferred. Do not donate expired, dented or damaged, bulging, repackaged or home-preserved products, or items without labels.
Several responsible nonprofits have launched fire relief efforts, including:
- The Hawai‘i Community Foundation “Maui Strong Fund.” Make donations at https://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/maui-strong.
- The Hawai‘i Red Cross, is assisting with shelters for those displaced by the fires. Make donations at https://www.redcross.org/local/hawaii.html.
- Maui United Way responds to immediate needs via daily grant approvals to existing grassroots organizations that are local and focused on basic needs. Make donations at https://mauiunitedway.org/disasterrelief .
For individuals and organizations that want to offer donations or services, use the website https://tinyurl.com/mauireliefsurvey to help organize and deploy resources.
Resource Hub: Donation & Volunteer Information
An online, centralized hub to respond to the impacts of the Maui Wildfire Disaster is available at mauinuistrong.info. The County of Maui’s “Maui Nui Strong” site offers information on how to donate, volunteer, offer services and locate support. Support information on the Maui Nui Strong site includes resources for Financial Assistance, Government Services, Medical Care, Mental Health Services and more.
Material Donations Drop-off
- Where: The old Kahului Safeway
- Address: 170 E. Kamehameha Ave.
- When: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Accepting: Non-perishable food, bottled water, and paper supplies only.
- Note: Those impacted by the fires can also pick up supplies. Donations are no longer being accepted at the former location at Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center.
Maui School Updates
For updates on the status of school operations on Maui, please visit the Department of Education.
Child Care Updates
For a list of DHS licensed Child Care options for Maui families in need of child care services – click here.
To Locate Missing Loved Ones
- Unaccounted-For Individuals
- We still need your help identifying individuals reported unaccounted for following the Lahaina wildfire disaster. The validated list of names is available at mauinuistrong.info/unaccountedfor. If you recognize a name on the list and know the person to be safe, or have additional information that may help locate them, please contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at (888) 814-7693 or go to www.fbi.gov/MauiFires.
- Anyone wishing to report an individual who is still unaccounted for is asked to email [email protected] and provide the following information:
- Person reporting: first and last name, contact information and relationship with the unaccounted for individual.
- Unaccounted individual: first and last name, age or date of birth, last known location and last known physical address of residence.
- If you live on a neighbor island or the U.S. Mainland, 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 FBI Honolulu Division at (808) 566-4300 or email [email protected].
- DNA samples are only for identification of wildfire victims and survivors, and will not be stored or used for any other purpose.
- The FAC 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.
- Family Assistance Center (FAC)
- The Family Assistance Center (FAC) is moving from its current location at the Kahului Community Center to the Hyatt Regency’s Monarchy Ballroom, effective Friday, August 18, at 10 a.m. FAC services at the Kahului Community Center ended as of 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 17.
- Address: 200 Nohea Kai Drive in Kaʻanapali
- Hours: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- The FAC’s new location will provide for a “one-stop shop” of resources and services for those who have been affected by the Maui wildfires. Families and individuals will have the opportunity to come into the FAC where staff will assist them in assessing their needs and connecting them with services that are on site as well as other resources within the community.
- Those who have missing family members will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide information that may assist in locating their loved ones. Immediate family members (parents, siblings, and children) will have the option to provide a DNA sample to assist in these efforts.
- Those who provide DNA samples are assured that the samples will only be used for the purpose of identifying those who are still reported missing.
- The following services will be available as of August 18. More services will be added over the coming days and weeks:
- For more information about the FAC, please call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
- If you live on a neighbor island or the mainland, 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, please call the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Honolulu Division at (808) 566-4300.
- The Family Assistance Center (FAC) is moving from its current location at the Kahului Community Center to the Hyatt Regency’s Monarchy Ballroom, effective Friday, August 18, at 10 a.m. FAC services at the Kahului Community Center ended as of 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 17.
FEMA Disaster Recovery Center
- Address: University of Hawaii Maui College, 310 W. Kaahumanu Ave, Kahului
- Hours: 8 a.m.–7 p.m. daily
- Individuals can speak to FEMA specialists, connect with voluntary organizations, and receive help registering for disaster assistance and accessing federal and state resources.
- Source: Maui County Facebook
Shelters and Housing
- Temporary housing is available at 29 locations around Maui, in coordination with the American Red Cross. There were 6,199 people housed overnight Wednesday at the locations, which provide a temporary solution to give families and individuals a comfortable and safe place to stay near their community while more permanent housing plans are developed.
- Residents in hotels receive the same Red Cross services previously provided in shelters, including meals, mental health support, health services, reunification services, spiritual care, financial assistance and casework. As part of the recovery process, Red Cross caseworkers connect one-on-one with people to create recovery plans, navigate complex paperwork and locate help from other agencies.
- Residents who are sheltering in hotels will be asked to show proof of prior residency within impacted areas of Maui County by September 15. People who are unable to provide proof of residency, including non-citizens and those who did not have stable housing prior to the disaster, should call (800) 733-2767 for help.
- Anyone who meets requirements once the Safe Harbor Sheltering program ends can expect to receive lodging support for the next six months to a year. The determination for a continued stay beyond the Safe Harbor end date is based on meeting eligibility criteria, which is a determination of the state and FEMA and not a decision made by the Red Cross.
- To register with FEMA for shelter or financial assistance, call 1 (800) 621-3362, visit disasterassistance.gov, or apply through the FEMA smartphone app. You can also get assistance in person.
- Disaster Recovery Centers operate daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at three locations — the University of Hawai‘i Maui College (310 W. Ka‘ahumanu Ave., Community Services Building 205); Lahaina Civic Center gymnasium, 1840 Honoapiʻilani Highway; and Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center, located at 91 Pukalani St., Makawao.
- People who do not meet FEMA qualifications will be eligible for hotel emergency lodging through the Red Cross, including non-citizens and those who were homeless prior to the fires. For information, call 1 (800) 733-2767.
- 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. Of the 900-plus properties offered to date, just over half the properties are on Maui, about 30% are on Oʻahu, with 10 proposals from owners of property outside of Hawaiʻi. For assistance call (808) 587-0469 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or email [email protected]
Source: Maui County Website
Food and Supplies Distributions
- Kahana Gateway Shopping Center
- Address: 4405 Honoapi‘ilani Highway
- When: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
- What: Food and supplies.Walk-up meals are available at lunch and dinner.
- Note: The Lāhainā Gateway Distribution location has closed.
- Source: Maui County Website
- Feed My Sheep
- Holding a drive-thru distribution on Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Feed My Sheep mobile food distribution sites are set up at:
- 150 South Pu‘unene Ave. in Kahului (9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturdays)
- In the parking lot next to Living Way Church, at the corner of Market and Mokuhau streets in Happy Valley (10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Fridays).
- Walk-up meals are available in Kahului at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College at lunch from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.and at dinner from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Department of Human Services (DHS) has authorized replacement benefits for extended Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households who lost food purchased with their SNAP benefits during the recent wildfires on Maui and Hawaii island. SNAP households can request replacement benefits through September 15, 2023.
The replacement will be for the amount of the loss, not to exceed the August 2023 monthly allotment for that household, after receipt of a signed affidavit. The replacement benefit is different from Disaster-SNAP (D-SNAP) – click here.
SNAP Temporary Waiver to Purchase Hot Food
DHS is facilitating extended SNAP food support. USDA provided a temporary waiver that will allow SNAP participants in the in Hawaii to purchase hot foods with their benefits through September 14, 2023.
USDA emphasized the importance of the waiver, noting that many Hawaii residents evacuated to shelters cannot store food and lack access to cooking facilities as a result. Under normal circumstances, hot foods cannot be bought using SNAP benefits. SNAP authorized retailers have been notified of the approval – click here.
Mental Health Support
- Many people are experiencing strong emotions, anguish, and deep loss following the devastating Maui fires. Mental health support is available. Visit www.mauinuistrong.info for a comprehensive list of resources for individuals, families and helpers. In addition, the Red Cross Disaster Distress Helpline is available 24/7 for counseling and support: (800) 985-5990.
Emergency Prescription Assistance Program
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 https://aspr.hhs.gov/epap for more information from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
Hawai‘i 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 need confidential assistance with a trained crisis counselor, please call/text 988 (TTY 711) or visit the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline’s chat.
Med-QUEST under the DHS has paused all terminations and eligibility renewals. People who are already covered by Med-QUEST do not need to take any action at this time.
Their coverage will be maintained. We also have MQD staff, some Health Plan representatives and Kokua/community organizations on the ground at the War Memorial who can help with applications.
The State Department of Health is urging caution for residents and business owners who are allowed to return to their properties in the Lāhainā area. 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 and cause injury. For more information about recommendations for personal protective equipment including masks and associated hazards, go to https://health.hawaii.gov/news/newsroom/doh-advises-caution-for-residents-returning-to-west-maui-area/.
Unsafe Water Advisory
The County of Maui Department of Water Supply (DWS) continues collecting water samples for daily testing in Unsafe Water Advisory areas of Lahaina and Kula. Results take several days to obtain, and the department must replicate the results multiple times before the Unsafe Water Advisory can be lifted. The department is working with the Hawaiʻi Department of Health, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and a Purdue University expert to ensure the water is safe before canceling the Unsafe Water Advisory.
An interactive map depicting the precise location of the Unsafe Water Advisory is available at bit.ly/mauiwateradvisory.
Until further notice, residents in Unsafe Water Advisory 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. Residents in impacted areas are not able to treat the water in any way to make it safe to consume, with contaminants possibly having entered the water system.
While supplies last, Upcountry Strong is distributing one solar shower bag per household to residents affected by the Unsafe Water Advisory. The Upcountry Strong headquarters, located at the Pukalani Terrace Shopping Center, is open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. The solar shower bags are designed for reuse and can be refilled at County of Maui water tankers located throughout Upcountry. The bags are being provided by the County of Maui Department of Environmental Management’s Environmental Protection and Sustainability Division.
For safe, potable water, please bring large, sterilized water containers to:
- Lāhainā: Lāhainā Gateway Center, Honokohau Valley, intersection of Kapunakea and Nahale streets, Hawaiian Homes/Lāhainā Civic Center, Kahoma Village at Front Street entrance, Lahaina Baseyard parking area
- Upper Kula: Crater Road, Copp Road, Kula School near Cafeteria, Kula Community Center, Kula Lodge, Rice Park, Ching Store, ‘Ulupalakua Ranch Store
Replacing State Identification
- Where: Lāhainā Gateway Center
- When: 9 a.m.–2p.m. daily
- What: Maui Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing is assisting those who need to replace their driver’s license or state identification cards. For more information, please call (808) 270-7363.
- With the opening of the Honoapiʻilani Highway, please consider allowing time for those who have the highest need for access, such as those seeking medical assistance, returning residents of West Maui, first responders, and essential workers.
- The impact zone remains off-limits due to the active search and recovery efforts. Again, there may be debris on the road, and areas where traffic builds. Please be vigilant as you drive.
- Restrictions for late-night vehicular access into West Maui via Honoapiʻilani Highway have been lifted recently. The Maui Police Department (MPD) will cite and tow vehicles parked at the Lahaina Bypass, where no-parking signs are posted. The impact zone remains off limits.
Hawaiʻi Fire Relief Housing Program
- Property owners and landlords with space to give, please complete this form.
- Displaced residents in need of housing, please complete this form.
- Contact: Website, (808) 587-0469, [email protected].
Filing Insurance Claims
Certain nonresident independent adjusters have been authorized to operate in Hawaii to assist those who have been affected by the fires. An insurance company, independent adjusting company, or producer should utilize the Emergency Independent Adjuster form to provide information on nonresident adjusters.
If you have sustained a loss, contact your agent or insurance company as soon as possible. File a claim with your agent or directly with your insurance company by visiting their website or calling their local or toll-free number. Keep the following in mind when contacting your agent or insurance company:
- Ask whether the policy provides for additional living expense that covers temporary shelter expenses. Keep all hotel and meal receipts.
- Ask if your policy covers the cost of housing as you rebuild.
- Go over the claims procedure.
- Review the forms you need to fill out.
- Find out how much time you have to file the claim.
- If you do not have a copy of your policy, ask if a copy can be emailed to you.
DCCA’s Insurance Division Consumer Resources contain more information on how to file a homeowners insurance claim.
- On Saturday, August 12, 2023, at 7:00 a.m., the enhanced Unemployment Insurance (UI) Call Center expanded to include an option for those affected by the Maui Wildfires. Individuals can reach the call center at (808) 984-8400. Claims can also be filed online at huiclaims.hawaii.gov.
- When individuals contact the UI Call Center, they will be presented with the option to select their desired language and then an option to file a claim. The first option is Option Zero, which is for those affected by the Maui Wildfires. Individuals can choose “0” to reach a UI employee who will assist them with filing their unemployment insurance claim via the telephone.
- In recognition of the devastating Maui Wildfires, the requirements to make three job search contacts and register for work on HireNetHawaii are waived for only those affected. These waivers begin once the claim is filed. The UI Call Center will also be expanding its hours to seven days a week and operating from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. The UI Call Center continues to offer interpreter services to limited English proficient individuals. Individuals can go to the Maui American Job Center in Wailuku to file their unemployment insurance claims using the computers there.
- Workers, business owners, and self-employed residents of Maui who became unemployed or had reduced work hours due to the wildfires may be eligible for disaster unemployment benefits from Aug. 13, 2023, to Feb. 10, 2024, if unemployment continues to be a direct result of the disaster. Regular unemployment insurance and disaster unemployment benefits cannot be paid at the same time. The deadline to apply is September 25. To apply, go to https://uiclaims.hawaii.gov. Those who are not able to file online can apply toll-free:(833) 901-2272; (833) 901-2275; (808) 762-5751 or (808) 762-5752.
Financial Assistance for Cellular Services
AT&T Postpaid & PREPAID customers in affected areas, will be waived overage charges to provide unlimited talk, text and data through August 16. In addition, their retail store in Kahului is open and serving customers. Store locations and hours are available at www.att.com/stores.
They are posting updates on their website at least daily, if not twice a day, especially as additional assets arrive on island and get deployed.
Verizon-owned prepaid brands, including Straight Talk, Tracfone, Total by Verizon, Simple Mobile, Safelink, Walmart Family Mobile, Net10, GoSmart, and Page Plus, announced on August 10, 2023 that customers with Maui zip codes reaching their month-end service in the next four days, August 10-13, will have their service extended by another week.
In addition, Verizon is offering unlimited calling, texting and data for its prepaid and postpaid customers who live on Maui from August 10 to 23, 2023. This includes all prepaid and postpaid consumer and small business customers with Maui billing addresses.
Apply for Federal Disaster Assistance
To apply for assistance, visit DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app. Applicants can also call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362, with language translation services available. The helpline is open and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no cost for Hawai‘i residents to call.
When applying for assistance, have the following information ready:
- A current phone number where you can be contacted
- Your address at the time of the disaster and the address where you are not staying
- Your social security number
- A general list of damage and losses
- Banking information if you choose direct deposit
- If insured, the policy number or the agent and/or the company name
- Survivors may be eligible to receive assistance for uninsured and underinsured damage and losses resulting from the Hawai‘i wildfires.
Take photos to document damage and begin cleanup and repairs to prevent further damage. Remember to keep receipts from all purchases related to the cleanup and repair.
Disaster assistance may include financial help with temporary lodging and home repairs, as well as other disaster-related expenses.
For an accessible video on how to apply for assistance visit: youtube.com/watch?v=LU7wzRjByhI&list=PL720Kw_OojlKOhtKG7HM_0n_kEawus6FC&index=6.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
SBA encourages homeowners, renters, businesses, and nonprofits to apply for low interest disaster loans. Businesses can apply for up to $2 million for physical damage or economic injury. You can get more information by calling the Honolulu office at (808) 541-2990 or visiting https://www.sba.gov/district/hawaii.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Low-Income Home Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), through its partner Maui Economic Opportunity (MEO), will be implementing disaster plans to include providing generators, gas tanks, gas, propane, bottled water, and water delivery to those who were displaced from their residences.
Rental Unit Inventory: Maui Economic Opportunity (MEO)
- In anticipation of the need to house residents displaced by wildfires, MEO is seeking leads on available homes, units and rooms for rent on Maui to add to a housing inventory list. A 6-to-12 month lease is preferred. (KHON2)
- MEO will act as a liaison between the client and landlord or Realtor. Payments will be made directly by MEO to the Realtor/landlord. Information collected include: (1) Number of units available; (2) whether units are pet-friendly; and whether they are ADA accessible. Those with available units may email Debbie Cabebe at [email protected].
The Lana‘i-Lāhainā shopping shuttle, which runs every Tuesday, has been canceled indefinitely due to damage at Lāhainā Small Boat Harbor and to Expedition ferries and operations
Information for Military Veterans Affected by Wildfire
- If your school is temporarily closed, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will consider your attendance as continuous, and your benefits will not be affected.
- Students using Chapter 33 (Post-9/11 GI Bill) or Chapter 35 (Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance Program): As long as the enrollment was submitted prior to the recent disaster, no further action is necessary to continue to receive benefits.
- Please contact our Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551 (Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST) for any questions about your GI Bill benefits. If you’re unable to contact us by phone, you can send us a secure inquiry through Ask VA.
- If a veteran or beneficiary does not/cannot receive a benefits payment due to the effects of the natural disaster and indicates financial hardship, the contact center agents must request a one-time special payment address where a replacement payment can be sent.
- VBA can issue a same-day EFT payment to affected veterans. To do this, the veteran needs to enroll in Direct Deposit.
- If a veteran does not have a bank account into which they can receive direct deposit, VA has established the Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP). Veterans can find more information about VBBP here.
- VA provides assistance to help ease the hardships of those affected. VA offers Instant Loan Approval online and expedited same-day processing for policy loans when veterans contact the call center.
- The Office of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (OSGLI) is following disaster alerts that are issued by each state department of insurance in the event of natural disaster. These alerts generally provide a moratorium on lapsing or extension of premium payments.
- Veterans may call the Insurance Center at 1-800-669-8477 or OSGLI at 1-800-419-1473.
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs