Maui is burning. That’s not hyperbole. Dozens of homes and businesses in Historic Lahaina Town have been destroyed, and wildfires across the Valley Isle have closed multiple highways and roads, grinding traffic and commerce to a dead stop. High winds and drought conditions turned much of Maui into a disaster area.
Acting Governor Sylvia Luke (she’s Lt. Governor as Governor Josh Green is away on overseas travel) has made a disaster proclamation. She has issued an official statement asking people to avoid travel to Maui as emergency crews scramble and struggle to respond to this raging and ongoing catastrophe.
Maui wildfire devastation in Lahaina
Reports out of Lahaina detail dozens of people fleeing into the sea to avoid rapidly spreading flames, and all of Maui’s public schools have been closed. Dramatic video of residents escaping the deadly flames are shocking, and footage of businesses burning along Front Street in Lahaina looks like a news dispatch covering the end of the world. News reports describe the situation as “devastating”.
Maui flights have been cancelled, with Hawaiian Airlines and other carriers frantically trying to accommodate stranded passengers affected by the disaster. Thousands are currently sheltered in place at Kahului Airport awaiting flights.
Conditions on Maui are so severe that some emergency shelters have been evacuated. High winds and minimal rainfall make fighting the flames around the island exceedingly difficult, and visitors and residents are strongly advised to stay off the roads. It is flat-out deadly in multiple parts of Maui at this time.
Local news stations have been covering the disaster live this Wednesday, August 9, 2023 morning. The images and video coming out of the Valley Isle are terrifying and heartbreaking. The situation is similar to North American wildfire emergencies that have dominated international news in recent months, a reality that has until now been unthinkable for the residents of and visitors to the Aloha State.
Current high winds and dry conditions that have fueled these multiple Maui wildfires are expected to continue for the foreseeable future. This means that any plans to travel to Maui should be carefully reconsidered and, if possible, postponed at this time. Everyone vacationing on Maui at this time is affected by the disaster. Iconic Maui buildings and views have been reduced to ash and cinders.
Our experts at Hawaii Aloha Travel are assisting Maui travelers to the fullest extent possible.