A stubborn wildfire in Kula is also still burning. So far, 19 homes have been lost

The residents of Kula, in Upcountry Maui, are mourning for their neighbors, friends and loved ones in West Maui. They’re mourning for their own community, too.
Published: Aug. 13, 2023 at 5:25 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 14, 2023 at 2:47 AM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The residents of Kula, in Upcountry Maui, are mourning for their neighbors, friends and loved ones in West Maui – and they’re mourning for their own community, too.

The same day a wildfire ripped through Lahaina, one tore through Kula, as well.

No fatalities were reported, but at least 19 homes have burned.

“You never think that your house is going to burn down, nobody does,” said Sweetheart Mori.

“But what you going do when there’s a fire? You just gonna deal with it and just get the heck away. At least your life is saved. Instead of the people in Lahaina,” she said as she started to cry.

Mori’s home is one of the 19 lost.

County officials say three of the homes were in Olinda, while 16 were in Kula. Authorities warn there could be more. There’s been no access to some area.

Mori said the winds were whipping around 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

“My daughter opened her door, the wind just took the door and her window shattered,” Mori said.

As of Sunday, the fire is still just 60% contained. So far, the blaze has burned more than 700 acres.

“The fire came from in the back and just burnt all the way down. All the way down to my daughter’s cottage,” said Mori.

Three helicopters, four engines, two tankers and one utility are currently on-site — struggling to control the flame five days after the wildfire started. County officials say hotspots in gulches and other hard to reach places, along with land divisions and fences, make this a difficult fire to contain.

Mori said says the firefighters are giving it their all.

“They work hard and they’re trying to save lives too, and their homes probably burnt up themselves but they’re out helping other people.”

Mori said her home was a gathering place filled with lots of memories. She even had a special wall in her home filled with lines, tracking the children’s height.

The wall is not there anymore, but the memories remain. And although she doesn’t have much at all, she says she has everything she needs.

“I cannot. I feel hilahila. It’s shame for ask. Even if you only have one pair of pants, get washer,” she said.

Mori’s loved ones have set up a link for donations for her and her family. If you are interested in helping them rebuild, click here.

Copyright 2023 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.