West Maui residents focus on rebuilding after firefighters contain 2K acre blaze

West Maui residents focus on rebuilding after firefighters contain 2K acre blaze
Updated: Aug. 26, 2018 at 8:07 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The destructive fire that broke out in Lahaina early Friday morning is finally 100 percent contained, Maui county officials said on Sunday afternoon.

At last check, officials said a total of 22 homes, 30 vehicles and one base yard with heavy equipment were either damaged or destroyed between Lahaina and Kaanapali.

The blaze broke out in Kauaula Valley around 1:00 a.m., and residents say about a dozen homes have been reduced to ash, leaving around 60 people homeless.

"I mean it looks like a battlefield. Like something just came and destroyed everything," said Kauaula Valley resident Sybil Lopez. "Burned to a crisp. It's hard to explain, but you still can walk and see the memories."

Lopez said if her son wasn't awake to alert everyone, she believes everyone in her family would not have made it out alive.

"One of my uncles even mentioned that ... if it wasn't for one of them coming and screaming at him and actually waking him up, he wouldn't have made it," said Lecamieann Shiffler, a Lahaina resident.

"By the time they started letting everybody know, it was right there at the doorstep," Lopez said. "So they literally had to drive through fire just to get out."

Kauaula Valley residents say the land they live on is sacred because it's where their ancestors were buried.

Shiffler says the place where she grew up is now unrecognizable.

"I was trying to go to the home where I grew up in, where my dad lives, I couldn't even find the direction because it's just so messed up down there," Shiffler said.

The residents of the valley say they live a very simple lifestyle, off the land and they're determined to stay and rebuild and rise above the ashes.

A fundraiser has been set up for those affected in the disastrous wildfire that scorched over 2,000 acres of land.

Thousands of dollars in donations have already been raised. For more information on donating to recovery efforts, click here.

Maui fire officials are still investigating, and say the cause of the fire is not yet known.

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