September 17, 2023
9/17 Maui Wildfire Disaster Update
- Olinda fire: 90% contained. Estimated 1,081 acres.
- Kula fire: 96% contained. Estimated 202 acres.
- Lahaina fire: 100% contained. Estimated 2,170 acres.
The Maui Fire Department (MFD) advises the public that extinguishing the Upcountry fires may take an extended period of 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.
RE-ENTRY INTO LAHAINA DISASTER AREAS UPDATE
Work is being done to identify the first zones in the County of Maui Disaster Area that residents will be allowed to re-enter after the Environmental Protection Agency has cleared properties of hazardous materials. The zones are expected to be announced this week. Property owners and residents in those zones will be contacted before the start of the process for acquiring passes for re-entry into those zones begins on Friday, September 22. Re-entry into those zones is expected to begin Monday, September 25, with residents escorted to the properties and provided personal protective equipment during the first two visits. The county is working closely with the state Department of Health to monitor air quality, as well as with cultural advisers and mental health professionals, in facilitating the re-entry visits. “I cannot stress the importance of supporting people going through this experience,” said Darryl Oliveira, Interim Administrator of the Maui Emergency Management Agency. “We also want to make sure they’re safe.” Information, including a map showing the zones, is available at www.MauiRecovers.org.
As of September 13, County of Maui Disaster Area Restrictions were LIFTED for two business zones – Zone 5B, the Lahaina Cannery Mall parcel; and Zone 5E, the business area of Kupuohi and Ulupono streets. All roadways to access those zones are clear. The Hawaiʻi Department of Healthʻs Smoke and Dust Advisory remains in effect for portions of Maui impacted by fire and surrounding areas with smoke, ash and dust. For air quality information, visit https://health.hawaii.gov/mauiwildfires/. County of Maui Department of Water Supply Unsafe Water Advisory remains in effect. For information, go to https://www.mauirecovers.org/recovery/maps-data.
Currently, the disaster area is restricted to authorized personnel only. Dangers include ash that may contain toxic, cancer-causing chemicals with debris including broken glass, exposed electrical wire, and other objects. Unstable 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 PPE recommendations, please visitbit.ly/WestMauiCaution.
MAUI RECOVERS WEBSITE
An official County of Maui website, www.MauiRecovers.org, is providing vital information and assistance, including re-entry data, to those affected by the fires. The website includes:
- Re-entry Information: Guidance on safe re-entry to affected areas, outlining essential safety measures for those returning to their properties.
- Water and Wastewater Updates: Regular updates on the status of water and wastewater services in impacted areas.
- Maps and Data: Interactive maps and data resources to facilitate navigation of impacted areas during the recovery process.
- Fire Debris Removal: Updates on the removal of hazardous materials from areas affected by the fires.
- Financial and Housing Assistance: Detailed information on available financial and housing assistance programs to support recovery.
- Frequently Asked Questions: Answers to common questions related to the recovery efforts.
Individuals can also subscribe to receive real-time updates tailored to assist those impacted by the fires.
UNSAFE WATER ADVISORY
Effective September 12, 2023, the Department of Water Supply announced that the Unsafe Water Advisory for Upper Kula has been amended to remove Zone 1 from the affected area. Water serving homes and buildings in Zone 1 has been determined to be safe for unrestricted use. To determine if your address is in a specific zone, please refer to the interactive map at the following link: Zone Map
The interactive map has been broken down into five (5) zones for Upper Kula. Zone 1 is now in green. If your address is in the green area, the Unsafe Water Advisory (UWA) no longer applies.
Zones 2 through Zone 5 remain under the UWA. The advisory was issued on August 11, 2023, as a precautionary measure due to the unknown impacts of the wildfires in the area.
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.
For safe, potable water, please bring large, sterilized water containers to:
- Lahaina: Lahaina Gateway Center, Honokohau Valley, Behind Lahaina Baseyard, Kahoma Village, Hawaiian Homes/Lahaina Civic Center
- Upper Kula: Kula Lodge and Copp Road
The Hawai`i Department of Health reported Friday, September 15, that results from preliminary air sampling and air monitoring conducted in Lahaina and Upcountry Maui do not show evidence of poor air quality or any hazardous levels of contaminants in the air when the samples were collected. “The preliminary data indicate that air quality around wildfire impacted areas in Lahaina and Upcountry Maui are free of hazardous levels of contaminants,” said State Health Director Dr. Kenneth S. Fink. “It’s critical to remember that air monitoring is indicative of the ambient air quality, and high winds or cleanup activities could cause dust and ash to become airborne. We continue to urge Maui residents to wear a high-quality mask, such as an N95 mask, and other personal protective equipment when in impacted areas. Precautions should also continue to be taken in nearby areas should the air quality change due to disturbed ash from an impacted area.”
FATALITY AND SEARCH UPDATE
Confirmed fatality numbers and identification information are included in the Maui Police Department’s daily press release, anticipated to be issued by 6 p.m. daily. For that information, please visit: bit.ly/MauiPoliceNews. The Maui Police Department reported Friday, September 15, that the revised number of fatalities is 97, a decrease from the 115 previously reported, with 99% of the Lahaina disaster area searched, according to officials. The new number was reached based on factors including obtaining DNA profiles during examination of remains.
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@example.com 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.
Family members on Maui who wish to submit DNA for use in identifying someone who is unaccounted for are asked to contact the Family Assistance Center by calling (808) 270-7771 or sending an email to FAC@mauicounty.gov to schedule an appointment.
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 HN-COMMAND-POST@ic.fbi.gov.
DNA samples are only for identification of wildfire victims and survivors, and will not be stored or used for any other purpose.
HAZARDOUS MATERIALS REMOVAL
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been assigned by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to survey, remove, and dispose of hazardous material from properties affected by the wildfires in Lahaina, Kula, and Olinda. Hazardous materials could include compressed gas cylinders, pesticides, fertilizers and ammunition, as well as lithium-ion batteries, and in particular solar battery storage on homes. As of September 15, the EPA has nine teams in Lahaina performing assessment and removal of hazardous materials on 1,584 parcels for Phase 1. EPA has completed work in Kula and has completed removal of hazardous material at 624 properties in total.
FOOD DISTRIBUTION / DONATIONS
Food and supplies are distributed to West Maui residents at Kahana Gateway
Shopping Center, 4405 Honoapi`ilani Highway, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Walk-up meals are available at lunch and dinner. Feed My Sheep holds a drive-thru distribution from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays.
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.
The old Kahului Safeway at 170 E. Kamehameha Ave. is open as a new location to accept donations of non-perishable food, water, and paper supplies only. Donations will be accepted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those impacted by the fires can also pick up supplies during those hours.
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) and 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).
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.
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.
COMMUNITY INFORMATION BOARDS
Information boards are now located at these locations:
- Kula Lodge Water Hub - 15200 Haleakala Hwy., Kula
- Napili Park - 22 Maiha Street, Napili
- Napili Plaza - 5095 Napilihau St., Lahaina
- S-Turns Pohaku Park ‘Ohana - Lower Honoapi‘ilani Rd., Honowokai
- Times Supermarket Honokowai - 3350 Lower Honoapi‘ilani Rd., Lahaina
- Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa - 2605 Ka‘anapali Parkway, Ka‘anapali
- Hyatt Regency Maui - 200 Nohea Kai Dr., Lahaina
- Safeway Lahaina, 1221 Honoapiʻilani Highway
- Kelawea Mauka 2 - Niheu Street (Lahainaluna Road)
- Kelawea Mauka 3 - North Hopoe Place (Lahainaluna Road)
- Kelawea Mauka Makai Park Hub, near Lahainaluna Road and Lahaina Bypass
- Disaster Recovery Center, Lahaina Civic Center, 1840 Honoapi`ilani Highway
- Safeway Kihei - 277 Pi‘ikea Ave., Kihei
Red Cross enrollment for emergency housing now closed. Enrollment for non-congregate sheltering for everyone who had a primary residence on Maui that was destroyed or made uninhabitable by the recent wildfires, regardless of citizenship status, ended on Friday, September 15. Prospective new entrants will now be considered by the State of Hawaii.
The deadline for applying for the Red Cross financial assistance program is 5 p.m. September 18. Eligible households who have not received a call, text or email from the Red Cross and believe they have qualifying damage can visit redcross.org/hihelp for more information.
Safe Harbor ends September 29. As part of the Red Cross non-congregate shelter program, there is a period referred to as Safe Harbor, during which eligibility requirements for FEMA disaster assistance do not apply. For the Maui wildfires, the period of Safe Harbor ends September 29. By that date, the Red Cross will gather eligibility data on survivors in our care to help them determine the next steps in their recovery.
Temporary housing is available at 40 locations around Maui, in coordination with the Red Cross. There were 7,514 people housed overnight Friday at the locations, which provide a temporary solution to give families and individuals a comfortable and safe place to stay near their communities 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. On Friday, 12,912 meals were served at various locations.
Residents who are sheltering in hotels were asked to show proof of identity and 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.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has temporarily waived certain eligibility rules to ensure that people receiving federal disaster assistance due to the Maui fires can easily apply for and enroll in Lifeline, a federal program that helps to lower the cost of phone and internet service. More information, including how to enroll, is available at https://www.lifelinesupport.org/.
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.
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.