September 24, 2023

9/24 Maui Wildfire Disaster Update

RE-ENTRY INTO LAHAINA DISASTER AREAS UPDATE

The first zone cleared for owners and residents to re-enter in the County of Maui Disaster Area is Kaniau Road in Zone 1C. Residents can apply for vehicle passes to re-enter the zone through today, Sunday, September 24, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lahaina Civic Center. Two vehicle passes will be available per property owner, and two vehicle passes will be available per rental dwelling. Optional personal protective equipment (PPE) kits will be available during vehicle pass distribution. Disaster Area restrictions for Zone 1C will be lifted for owners and residents with vehicle passes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, September 25, and Tuesday, September 26. A high level of support will be provided to returning residents during the first two days of re-entry, including water, shade, washing stations, portable toilets, medical and mental health care, Maui Bus transportation from local hotel shelters and language assistance.

Information, including a map showing the zones, is available at www.MauiRecovers.org.

The free Ka'anapali Circulator Shuttle will have extended hours on Monday, September 25, and Tuesday, September 26, only for re-entry into Zone 1C. The shuttle will begin operation at 7 a.m. both days so residents who are staying at American Red Cross shelter hotels in West Maui and need transportation for re-entry to Zone 1C can arrive at the Lahaina Civic Center by 8 a.m. The circulator shuttle, operated by Roberts Hawaii, runs in a continuous loop and is available at Aston Ka'anapali Shores, Honua Kai, Aston Maui Ka'anapali Villas, Royal Lahaina, Outrigger Ka'anapali Beach Resort, Whalers Village, Westin Maui, Hyatt Regency Maui and Lahaina Civic Center. The shuttle will resume its regular hours of 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 27.

Launiupoko Beach Park reopened on Saturday, September 23, ahead of schedule, after the county Department of Parks and Recreation worked to ensure the park was cleared after the Aug. 8 fire and wind caused downed trees and other damage that riddled the park with debris. Eight staff in the Parks Department lost their homes to fire Aug. 8 but worked to ensure the beach park could reopen at 10 a.m. Saturday so families could enjoy it over the weekend.

As of 10 a.m. 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

At this time, there is no list allowing residents to return to the disaster area in Lahaina. Currently, the disaster area is restricted to authorized personnel only. When a fire burns through an area, many dangers remain. For those who can return to their properties, state Department of Health officials urge all individuals to utilize Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). For more PPE recommendations, please visitbit.ly/WestMauiCaution.


COMMUNITY INFORMATIONAL MEETINGS

A second community informational meeting will be held today for those impacted by the wildfire disaster. Information on housing plans, air quality status, support programs, and the establishment of a County of Maui Office of Recovery will be shared. The meeting is scheduled for today, Sunday, September 24, at 3 p.m. at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului.

Mayor Richard Bissen has formed a five-member Lahaina Advisory Team, which is comprised of Lahaina residents and will serve as a critical resource and meet weekly with Mayor Bissen to ensure the needs and desires of the community are part of discussions and decisions the County is involved in. The members are Archie Kalepa, Kaliko Storer, Kim Ball, Laurie DeGama and Rick Nava.


WEATHER

Mostly clear skies Monday morning are forecast to become partly cloudy in the afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. Northeast winds of 3 to 6 mph in the early morning hours are forecast to shit to southwest winds of 5 to 10 mph by mid-morning and into the afternoon. Wind gusts of up to 20 mph are possible, mainly during afternoon and evening hours.


FIRE 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.


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 Civic Center, Lahaina Gateway Shopping Center, Lahaina Baseyard parking area, Kahoma Village at Front Street entrance and Nahale Street
  • Upper Kula: Kula Lodge and Copp Road


AIR QUALITY

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.

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 unaccounted@mpd.net 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 21, EPA has nine teams and has completed hazardous materials collection at 869 of the 1,598 parcels that need to be cleared across Maui. EPA is working to clear the remaining residential parcels in the coming weeks. Clearing the 144 commercial parcels EPA has identified to date will take longer. The residential properties comprise 711 in Lahaina and 26 upcountry.

EPA is storing in a secure manner all the hazardous material collected at a staging area at Ukumehame. After all of the 1,598 parcels have been cleared, EPA will ship the hazardous material collected off-island. Different types of material need to be shipped to various states because the landfills receiving the waste vary in terms of what they can accept.


RESOURCE UPDATES:

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. Feed My Sheep holds a drive-thru distribution from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays.

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 3 p.m. Those impacted by the fires can also pick up supplies during those hours.

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.

CALL CENTER

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 ASSISTANCE

Red Cross enrollment for emergency housing and immediate financial assistance is closed. If your primary residence was destroyed or is uninhabitable due to the wildfires, contact the Red Cross at 800-Red Cross (800-733-2767) or RedCross.org to get answers to questions about assistance programs which may still be available.

Safe Harbor ends September 29. As part of Red Cross housing, there is a period referred to as Safe Harbor during which eligibility requirements for FEMA disaster assistance do not apply. For the Maui wildfires, 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.

Red Cross temporary housing is being provided at 40 locations around Maui. There were 7,782 people housed overnight Thursday at these 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. Survivors receive 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 survivors to create recovery plans, navigate complex paperwork and locate help from other agencies. On Thursday, 9,246 meals were served at various locations.

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., Pukalani.

UNEMPLOYMENT
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.

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