September 2, 2023

Unified Command expanded to address maritime hazards and pollution threats following Maui Wildfire

HONOLULU — State and Federal emergency responders have established an Emergency Support Function #10 (ESF #10) Western Maui Wildfire Unified Command with the mission of overseeing the assessment, removal, and disposal of incident-generated hazardous materials, response to actual and potential oil discharges, and clearance of marine debris and sunken or displaced vessels from designated waterways, including Lāhainā Harbor, in the aftermath of the Western Maui Wildfire.

The ESF #10 Unified Command consists of the U.S. Coast Guard, Hawaiʻi Department of Health, and the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources. ESF #10 is the framework to coordinate a federal and state agency response to actual or potential oil spills or hazardous material releases in the FEMA designated areas.

“We are working diligently to help the people of Maui recover from this disaster. Our priority is to safely mitigate hazardous materials, debris, and potential and actual pollution from the waterways surrounding Lāhainā,” said Cdr. Melanie Burnham, U.S. Coast Guard ESF #10 Incident Commander. “We are taking tangible steps to safeguard the Maui community in coordination with our partners to support local recovery efforts.”

As part of ESF #10, the Hawaiʻi Department of Health is working to oversee the removal and remediation of hazardous substances, such as oil, from waterways in Lāhainā.

“We continue to collaborate closely with county, federal, state and community partners to protect Maui residents and our environment,” said Elizabeth Galvez, Hawaiʻi Department of Health State On-Scene Coordinator. “The ESF #10 operational phase is an important transition point as we continue this critical work.”

“We have been coordinating with our partner agencies to reach this point where we can begin the critical work of recovery for our waterways and natural resources affected by this tragedy,” said Ed Underwood, Administrator with the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources' Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation. “Transitioning to the ESF #10 provides the tools to support our harbor community.”

Assessment teams place highest priority on vessels actively discharging pollution and can take immediate action to contain the material and remove it from the environment. Vessel owners impacted by the Western Maui Wildfire may contact the Western Maui Wildfire ESF #10 Harbor Coordination Group at and should include their name, phone number, and vessel registration number in their email.

For media inquiries related to the Western Maui Wildfire ESF #10 response, please contact the ESF #10 Public Information Officer at (505) 433-8759.


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