Maui Fire Evacuations, Closures, and Shelter Updates

Maui Fire Evacuations, Closures, and Shelter Updates Amidst Devastating Wildfires

Anyone looking to find someone affected by the fires may call the American Red Cross hotline at 1-800-733-2767.

The tranquil beauty of Maui was shattered as destructive fires tore through various parts of the island, prompting urgent evacuations, road closures, and the establishment of emergency shelters. Fueled by the dry winds of a passing hurricane, the fires engulfed Lahaina town and areas in Kula and Upcountry, leading to a state of emergency declaration by Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke. This unprecedented disaster has not only challenged the island’s residents but also its visitors, with Kahului Airport remaining operational while access to affected areas was strongly discouraged.

Evacuations and Closures

As the flames spread rapidly, Maui County officials swiftly organized evacuations to ensure the safety of residents and visitors alike. The county encouraged visitors with transportation to leave the island as soon as possible, with a mass bus evacuation staged at the Sheraton Maui Resort in Kaanapali. Proactive evacuations were recommended for several areas, including Holopuni and Pulehi roads in Kula, and Lahainaluna Road, Hale Mahaolu, Kelawea Mauka, and Lahaina Bypass on the west side. Upcountry areas affected by evacuations included Piʻiholo and Olinda roads, Kulalani Drive, Kulalani Circle subdivision, and the Kula 200 and Hanamu Road areas.

Emergency Shelters

As the fires raged on, over 2,100 individuals sought refuge in emergency shelters. Maui County provided a safe haven for those affected, including the War Memorial Complex, which was designated as a donation drop-off center for evacuees. The community’s generosity was evident as non-perishable food, bottled water, hygiene items, and blankets were sought to support those displaced by the disaster. However, it’s important to note that emergency shelters were not equipped with bedding and toiletries, and pet owners were required to restrain their animals. Shelters such as Maui High School, Hannibal Tavares Community Center, and the War Memorial Complex welcomed those in need.

Communication and Resources

In the face of such a crisis, communication was both essential and challenging. The Maui County Emergency Operating Center collaborated closely with the state Emergency Management Agency to secure resources from state and federal governments. An online list circulated on social media, helping people locate their loved ones amidst the chaos. However, connectivity issues arose as Lahaina experienced a lack of landline or cellphone service, rendering 911 services unavailable in the area. The American Red Cross established a hotline for those seeking information about individuals affected by the fires.

Weather Conditions and Outlook

The fires’ rapid spread was exacerbated by strong, dry winds from Hurricane Dora, creating dangerous fire weather conditions. The National Weather Service warned that these conditions would persist until late Wednesday night, necessitating continued firefighting efforts. However, a more favorable weather pattern with normal trade winds was anticipated as Hurricane Dora moved away from Hawaii.

Impact on Infrastructure and Services

The fires’ impact extended beyond evacuations and closures. Numerous roads were closed, disrupting travel patterns across the island. Lahaina town was heavily affected, with all roads in the area closed, spanning from Wahikuli Wayside Park to Kai Hele Ku Street. Kealaloa Avenue and Haleakala Highway were shut down at Lower Kimo Road, and Haleakala Highway at Kula Highway. Essential services were also disrupted, as all Maui public schools, Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui Clubhouses, and certain Maui Bus routes were suspended.


The Maui fires brought devastation and disruption to this paradise island, leaving a community grappling with evacuations, closures, and uncertainty. Through the challenges, emergency shelters provided a safe haven, while the spirit of generosity shone as donations poured in for those in need. The disaster underscored the importance of communication and cooperation between local and state agencies, as they rallied resources to battle the flames. As the fires recede and Maui rebuilds, the island’s resilience and the unity of its people stand as a testament to their determination to overcome even the most unprecedented disasters.

Anyone looking to find someone affected by the fires may call the American Red Cross hotline at 1-800-733-2767.

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