What you need to know as emergency crews battle raging brush fires on Maui

We continue to bring you the latest from Maui, which has changed forever as a result of these devastating fires that have destroyed Lahaina.
Published: Aug. 8, 2023 at 10:37 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 9, 2023 at 10:04 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As strong winds fuel raging brush fires on Maui, the county has opened multiple emergency shelters as evacuations are in effect.

Acting Governor Sylvia Luke has issued an emergency proclamation to extend the state of emergency to all counties. She’s also discouraging non-essential air travel to Maui and wants to prioritize scarce resources for residents.

State and county leaders will be holding a press conference Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. to provide an update on the wildfires and impacts of Hurricane Dora across the state.

Maui County officials sent out a clarification saying for emergencies, the public is urged to TEXT 911. Communications with West Maui are proving to be difficult and calling 911 is unavailable. They’re also asking the public to not call the Lahaina Station as initially announced.

Evacuations are still being conducted Wednesday morning as crews continue to battle fires in Upcountry Maui, South Maui and Kihei.

At last check, at least 7,500 people were evacuated from Lahaina and shelters are approaching capacity but they’re still taking in people.

Multiple sources say thousands of visitors are being evacuated from Maui to Oahu.

Here is a list of shelters:

  • Maui High School
    • Residents who were at Kihei Community Center are being relocated to Maui High as a precautionary measure. At last check, there were at least 1,200 people in the shelter.
  • Maui Preparatory in Napili-Honokowai
    • People who were utilizing the Lahaina Civic Center have been evacuated and relocated to Maui Preparatory.
    • A spokesperson for MPD says that the shelter is not being evacuated but people have the option to leave through Kahakuloa.
  • Hannibal Tavares Community Center in Pukalani
  • War Memorial Gym in Wailuku

Meanwhile, Kihei residents are now allowed to return back home.

Officials said pet owners utilizing shelters will need to have pets properly restrained.

Approximately 1,800 people sheltered in place overnight at the Kahului Airport with many west side highways closed. HDOT worked with airlines/TSA to shelter passengers for safety’s sake as wildfires continue to burn in Lahaina and upcountry.

DOT says anyone looking to leave Lahaina and make their way to Kahului Airport can use the back road out of the area. It remains open at this hour.

Kahului Airport remains open especially anyone hoping to leave Maui.

“If you are in an area impacted by brush fires, it is recommended to prepare and get ready to evacuate if needed. Make preparations for your family and pets,” the post said.

As multiple fire crews battle the blazes, police are not letting through any vehicles into West Maui due to unsafe conditions.

The following road closures are in place:


  • All roads in Lahaina Town are closed and is open only for emergency personnel. This includes all roads between Wahikuli wayside park on the north, to Kai Hele Ku Street to the south.
    • The public is permitted to leave the west side of Maui via Kahakuloa — no one is allowed to enter (one-way traffic only).
  • Kahekili Highway in Waihee to Lahaina bound traffic.
  • Hononoapiilani Highway remains closed at Maalaea and in Kapalua.
  • Haleakala Highway 377 between Kula Highway and L. Kimo Drive.
  • Kealaloa Road from Hanamu Road to Haleakala Highway 377.
  • Lahainaluna Road from Lahaina Bypass to Kuialua Street.

Authorities are asking drivers to stay off of the roads completely and to stay indoors unless you are asked to evacuate by first responders.

The fire department is also advising “immediate proactive evacuation” for residents in the following areas:

  • Ka’anapali Golf Estates area including Kaulapa Loop, Pu’u Anoano street, Hakui Loop, and Wekio Place.
  • Holopuni and Pulehu roads in Kula
  • The Ohukai subdivision in Kihei
  • Subdivisions north and south of Lipoa Parkway

Evacuations were also issued in the vicinities of Lahainaluna Road, Hale Mahaolu and Lahaina Bypass. Wahikuli residents in West Maui were also evacuated Tuesday evening.

According to a Maui County spokesperson, crews are working to put out fires in Upcountry, Olinda, Kula, Kihei, Wailuku and West Maui.

Meanwhile, water buffalos filled with drinking water can be found at Kula Fire Station, Kula Community Center, Rice Park and Crater Road – Hydrant 373.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) regional administrator authorized the use of federal funds on Wednesday to assist the state in combatting the Lahaina fire.


This is a breaking news story, please check back for updates.