FAQ: Is The Maui Wildfire Still Burning?

Written By:
Jessie Paluch
Jessie Paluch

Attorney Jessie Paluch, founder of TruLaw, has over 25 years of experience as a personal injury and mass tort attorney, and previously worked as an international tax attorney at Deloitte. Jessie collaborates with attorneys nationwide — enabling her to share reliable, up-to-date legal information with our readers.

This article has been written and reviewed for legal accuracy and clarity by the team of writers and legal experts at TruLaw and is as accurate as possible. This content should not be taken as legal advice from an attorney. If you would like to learn more about our owner and experienced injury lawyer, Jessie Paluch, you can do so here.

TruLaw does everything possible to make sure the information in this article is up to date and accurate. If you need specific legal advice about your case, contact us by using the chat on the bottom of this page. This article should not be taken as advice from an attorney.

Key takeaways:

  • It's important to note that containment does not mean the fire is completely extinguished. Firefighters and authorities continue to work tirelessly to fully extinguish the fire and ensure the safety of Maui residents.
  • The wildfire, which began on August 8, has caused significant damage, burning over 2,000 acres in Lahaina and hundreds of acres in Kula and Olinda. The historic Maui whaling village has been particularly affected, appearing as a shadow of its former self due to the fire's impact.
  • This recent wildfire event underscores the increasing frequency and severity of wildfires in Maui, emphasizing the importance of preparedness and resilience in our community. As we move forward, we will continue to stand together to recover, rebuild, and safeguard our beautiful island.

Overview of the Maui Fire Containment

Question: Is the Maui wildfire still burning?

Answer: Yes, the County of Maui has reported that the Lahaina fire is the only wildfire that has been 100% contained.

The town of Olinda has increased containment of the fire to 95% while the Kula fire remains unchanged at 96%.

These metrics are accurate as of September 26th, 2023.

County of Maui Fire Containment Update

Fire containment is a term used by firefighters to describe the percentage of a perimeter around a fire that they have managed to secure to prevent the fire from spreading.

Maui fire-managers are exercising additional caution before designating a section of the control line as “contained”

The Maui Fire Department (MFD) advises the public that extinguishing the Upcountry fires may take an extended period of time given the large burn area and the nature of the rural terrain.

Safety measures and continuous monitoring are in place to ensure the well-being of the residents of Lahaina returning to their homes.

Is The Maui Wildfire Still Burning

The Hawaii Department of Health reported Friday, September 15th, that results from preliminary air sampling and air monitoring conducted in Lahaina and Upcountry Maui do not show evidence of poor air quality or any hazardous levels of contaminants in the air when the samples were collected.

State Health Director Dr. Kenneth S. Fink stated that:

“The preliminary data indicate that air quality around wildfire impacted areas in Lahaina and Upcountry Maui are free of hazardous levels of contaminants.”

It’s critical to remember that air monitoring is indicative of the ambient air quality, and high winds or cleanup activities could cause dust and ash to become airborne.

We continue to urge Maui residents to wear a high-quality mask, such as an N95 mask, and other personal protective equipment when in impacted areas.

Precautions should also continue to be taken in nearby areas should the air quality change due to disturbed ash from an impacted area.

Table of Contents

Current Status of the Maui Wildfire

The 2023 Maui Wildfire, one of the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in U.S. history, has had a profound effect on the island’s residents, ecology, and economy.

As of the latest reports, the Maui Wildfire is still burning, but it is no longer an active threat.

Emergency services are work hard to extinguish the last of the flames to put an end to the end of a catastrophic wildfires that lasted nearly two months.

Maui News Sources

Following the containment of the wildfire, local authorities have been releasing regular updates regarding the recovery and restoration efforts.

News sources report that while progress has been slow, there are signs of recovery in the affected areas.

The community’s resilience and the support from various organizations have been instrumental in these efforts.

The Containment Efforts and Their Effectiveness

The containment of the Maui Wildfire was a significant challenge due to its scale and the harsh weather conditions.

It took the relentless efforts of local and national firefighting resources, employing both ground and aerial firefighting techniques, to eventually extinguish the fire.

These efforts, while effective in containing the fire, have prompted discussions on the need for more comprehensive wildfire management strategies.

The lessons learned from the Maui Wildfire are being used to inform future firefighting efforts, with an emphasis on early detection, rapid response, and community preparedness.

Wildfire's Impact on Maui's Natural Habitats and Wildlife

The wildfires in Maui, Hawaii left deep and lasting impacts on the island’s natural habitats, local economy, and community.

The extent of the damage is still being assessed, but the effects are being felt across all sectors of Maui life.

The wildfire caused extensive damage to Maui’s unique ecosystems.

Thousands of acres of native forests, home to diverse flora and fauna, were destroyed.

This loss of habitat has had a significant impact on local wildlife, resulting in the displacement of many species and a drastic reduction in biodiversity.

Recovery in these areas will be a slow process, as the regeneration of native plant species and the return of wildlife will take decades.

Furthermore, the wildfire has compounded the threat to many endangered species, making conservation efforts even more critical.

Economic Repercussions for Local Businesses and the Tourism Industry

Maui’s economy, heavily reliant on tourism, was severely impacted by the wildfire.

With vast areas of the island inaccessible due to the fire and subsequent recovery efforts, there was a significant drop in tourist arrivals.

The closure of many local businesses, coupled with the loss of employment opportunities, has led to economic instability.

While some areas have started to recover, it will take time for the tourism industry to regain its pre-wildfire vibrancy.

The local government and business owners are working together to rebuild and promote Maui as a safe destination for visitors.

County of Maui: Displacement and Health Concerns

The human toll of the wildfire was also severe.

Many residents were displaced, losing their homes and possessions to the flames.

Post-wildfire health concerns, such as respiratory issues caused by smoke inhalation, have also increased.

In addition to physical health concerns, the wildfire has had a significant impact on mental health, with many residents experiencing trauma and stress.

Support services have been established to assist those affected, focusing on providing emotional support and resources for rebuilding lives.

The Maui Wildfire of 2023 has undoubtedly left a lasting impact on the island.

However, the strength and resilience exhibited by the community in its aftermath are a testament to Maui’s spirit and will to recover and rebuild.

Hazardous Materials in Maui

The wildfire left behind a variety of hazardous materials, from building debris to potentially toxic ash.

Managing these materials is a key part of the recovery and restoration process.

Types of Hazardous Materials

The following are some types of hazardous materials that can be found in the aftermath of a wildfire:

  • Building Materials: Burned structures can leave behind hazardous materials such as asbestos, lead, and other heavy metals.
  • Household Chemicals: Household items such as cleaning supplies, pesticides, and paint can produce hazardous waste when burned.
  • Vehicle Remnants: Burned vehicles can leave behind fuels, oils, and batteries, which contain hazardous materials.

Hazardous Materials Management

The management of hazardous materials is overseen by local, state, and federal agencies.

The process involves:

  • Identification and Assessment: The first step is identifying the type and extent of the hazardous materials. This is done by trained professionals who can accurately assess the risks involved.
  • Removal: Once identified, hazardous materials must be carefully removed to prevent further environmental damage or health risks. This is often performed by specialized hazardous waste contractors.
  • Disposal: Proper disposal of hazardous materials is crucial. Depending on the type of material, it may be taken to a specialized facility for treatment, storage, or disposal.

Importance of Proper Management

Proper management of hazardous materials is vital for several reasons:

  • Environmental Protection: Improper disposal of hazardous materials can lead to soil, water, and air pollution.
  • Public Health: Exposure to hazardous materials can pose serious health risks to the public, including respiratory issues, skin irritation, and in severe cases, poisoning.
  • Legal Compliance: There are strict laws and regulations governing the handling and disposal of hazardous materials.

The wildfires in Maui underscored the importance of preparedness, not just in preventing wildfires, but also in managing their aftermath.

This includes having robust systems in place for hazardous materials management to ensure the health and safety of the community and the protection of the environment.

Recovery and Restoration Efforts

The aftermath of the 2023 Maui Wildfire has seen an outpouring of support and collective action from the local government, community organizations, and individuals.

Recovery and restoration efforts are in full swing as the island rebuilds and heals from the devastating impacts of the wildfire.

What Is Being Done to Restore the Affected Areas?

Restoration efforts are focusing on both ecological and infrastructural recovery.

The initial stage involves the removal of hazardous materials and the stabilization of burned areas to prevent further environmental damage.

This is followed by replanting native trees and plants to help restore the damaged ecosystems.

In terms of infrastructure, rebuilding efforts are being carried out in stages, with priority given to critical facilities such as hospitals, schools, and roads.

Local government agencies are working closely with construction companies to expedite the rebuilding process.

Community Initiatives and Government Programs

Various community initiatives and government programs have been launched to support the recovery efforts.

These include fundraising campaigns, volunteer programs, and mental health support services for those affected by the wildfire.

The local government, in partnership with federal agencies, has also initiated programs to provide financial aid to those who lost their homes or businesses in the fire.

These programs aim to assist individuals and families in finding temporary housing and rebuilding their lives.

Maui County Recovery Efforts

There are numerous ways to get involved in the recovery efforts.

Volunteering with local organizations involved in restoration work is one way to contribute.

Those with specific skills, such as construction or counseling, can offer their services to help those affected.

Donations to local and national charities involved in the recovery efforts are also welcome.

These funds are crucial in providing immediate relief and supporting long-term recovery projects.

The recovery and restoration efforts following the Maui Wildfire underscore the power of community and the resilience of the human spirit.

While the path to recovery is long, the ongoing efforts give hope for a stronger and more resilient Maui.

Preventing Future Wildfires in Maui

Preventing future wildfires is a complex challenge that involves understanding the factors contributing to fire risk, implementing effective strategies, and promoting responsible behavior.

The Role of Climate Change in Exacerbating the Risk of Wildfires

Climate change plays a significant role in increasing the risk and severity of wildfires.

Rising temperatures, extended periods of drought, and shifting weather patterns create conditions that are conducive to the spread of wildfires.

In Maui, the effects of climate change have been felt through drier landscapes and more extreme weather events, both of which increase wildfire risk.

Measures Taken by the Local Government and Environmental Organizations to Prevent Future Wildfires

In response to the increased wildfire risk, local governments and environmental organizations are implementing a range of measures to prevent future wildfires.

These preventative measure may include:

  • Land Management: This involves managing vegetation to reduce fuel for wildfires, implementing controlled burns to reduce the amount of combustible material, and creating fire breaks to slow or stop the spread of wildfires.
  • Early Detection Systems: Installing and maintaining early detection systems such as fire lookout towers and remote sensing technologies can help detect wildfires quickly, allowing for a faster response.
  • Community Education: Public education campaigns are being used to raise awareness about wildfire risks and prevention measures. These campaigns focus on promoting safe behaviors, such as proper disposal of cigarette butts and the safe use of fire in outdoor settings.

Steps Individuals Can Take to Reduce Wildfire Risk

Individuals can also play a significant role in preventing wildfires.

Some steps include:

  • Creating Defensible Space: Clearing vegetation and other combustible materials from around homes can create a ‘defensible space’ that can slow the spread of wildfires.
  • Safe Fire Practices: Following safe practices when using fire outdoors, such as extinguishing campfires completely and avoiding outdoor burning during dry or windy conditions, can prevent accidental wildfires.
  • Reporting Suspicious Activity: Reporting unattended fires or suspicious activities can help prevent wildfires from starting.

Preventing future wildfires in Maui requires a collective effort from government agencies, environmental organizations, and individuals.

Through proactive measures and responsible behavior, it is possible to reduce the risk of wildfires and protect Maui’s unique ecosystems and communities.

Re-entering Maui County Disaster Area

Re-entry to impacted areas is an incredibly significant and pivotal phase within the overall recovery process.

It not only enables residents to physically return to their homes but also provides them with an opportunity to assess the extent of the damage incurred, initiate and coordinate clean-up efforts, and ultimately embark on the arduous journey of rebuilding their lives.

However, managing this process with meticulous care and attention is paramount to ensure the safety and well-being of the residents, as they navigate the aftermath of a disruptive event.

Before residents can even consider returning to their homes, it is imperative that the area in question undergoes a thorough and comprehensive evaluation by the relevant authorities.

This assessment aims to determine the level of safety and suitability for re-entry, taking into account factors such as:

  • Structural integrity
  • Potential hazards
  • Basic infrastructure functionalities

By conducting these evaluations, authorities can provide residents with accurate information and guidance, allowing them to make informed decisions regarding their return.

Furthermore, this process enables the identification and mitigation of any immediate risks, ensuring that residents are not exposed to hazardous conditions upon their re-entry.

Evaluation of Safety Conditions

These safety conditions may involve:

  • Fire Containment: The wildfire must be fully contained, with no active flames or hotspots.
  • Hazardous Material Inspection: An assessment must be completed to identify any hazardous materials present in the area.
  • Infrastructure Stability: Buildings, roads, and utilities must be evaluated for safety. Any necessary repairs or stabilization should be completed to ensure there are no immediate dangers to returning residents.

The Process of Re-entry

Once an area is deemed safe to enter, a phased re-entry process typically begins:

  • Phase 1 – Emergency Services and Utilities: The first to return are usually emergency services and utility companies. They work to restore essential services such as power, water, and gas.
  • Phase 2 – Business Re-entry: Businesses, particularly those providing essential goods and services, are the next to return. This helps to start the economic recovery and ensures residents have access to necessary supplies.
  • Phase 3 – Resident Re-entry: Residents are usually the last to return. Before re-entry, they are often provided with information about what to expect and any precautions they need to take.

Support for Returning Residents

Support for returning residents can come in various forms:

  • Clean-up Assistance: Assistance with clean-up efforts, either through organized volunteer programs or resources for hiring professional services.
  • Mental Health Support: Services to help residents cope with the emotional impact of returning to a fire-damaged area.
  • Financial Aid: Assistance with repairs, rebuilding, and replacing lost items.

The re-entry process following the Maui Wildfire is a testament to the resilience of the community and the importance of organized, supportive recovery efforts.

While the journey back home can be painful and challenging, these coordinated efforts provide a pathway towards healing and rebuilding.

Conclusion to the Maui Wildfires

From the initial spark to the final containment, the wildfire ravaged the island’s unique ecosystems, disrupted the local economy, and upended the lives of countless residents.

Thankfully, the wildfire is no longer actively spreading.

Recovery and restoration efforts are underway, spearheaded by the local government, community organizations, and countless volunteers.

Although the path to full recovery is long and arduous, the resilience and determination exhibited by the Maui community give cause for hope and optimism.

It underscores the importance of preparedness and prevention in mitigating the damage caused by such events.

Preventing future wildfires in Hawaii is a collective responsibility.

From government agencies and environmental organizations to individual residents, everyone has a role to play.

Whether it’s through responsible land management, adhering to safe fire practices, or supporting educational campaigns, every effort counts.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is the Maui wildfire still burning?

    The Maui Fire Department has been vigilant in monitoring the situation and ensuring the safety of the public.

    As per the latest updates from Maui County officials, the Maui wildfire has been contained to this extent:

    • Lahaina: 100% contained
    • Kula: 96% contained
    • Olinda: 95% contained

    These numbers are current as of September 26th, 2023.

    Despite the progress made, the county is still seeking help in identifying individuals who are still unaccounted for following the Lahaina wildfire

    It is important to note that the disaster areas are not safe for entry due to the potential safety hazards.

  • How are the Maui wildfires affecting the local economy?

    The Maui Wildfire has had a profound impact on the local economy.

    The disaster area included over 800 business establishments, employing around 7,000 individuals.

    The daily total business revenue of these establishments is estimated to be around $2.7 million per day.

    The wildfire has also significantly affected the tourism industry, a major contributor to Maui’s economy.

    Moreover, the destruction of homes and businesses has led to a loss of property taxes, a significant source of revenue for local governments.

    This loss will likely impact the provision of public services and could lead to budget shortfalls.

    The recovery process will also place a significant financial burden on the local economy.

    Rebuilding homes and businesses, restoring infrastructure, and providing support and resources to those affected by the fire will require substantial funding.

    While some of this will be covered by insurance and federal aid, the local community will likely bear a significant portion of these costs.

  • Is it safe to go to Maui right now?

    As of the latest updates, non-essential travel to West Maui, including areas such as Lahaina, Napili, Ka’anapali, and Kapalua, is strongly discouraged.

    This advisory is in effect for the duration of Governor Green’s sixth emergency proclamation, which extends through October 17th, 2023.

    This advisory is in response to the ongoing recovery efforts from the Maui Wildfire and the need to ensure the safety of both residents and potential visitors.

    It is crucial to respect these advisories and avoid non-essential travel to these areas to allow recovery efforts to proceed without additional complications.

    While Maui is a beautiful destination with much to offer, current circumstances necessitate caution and respect for ongoing recovery efforts.

    Potential visitors are advised to stay updated on the situation and follow advisories from local authorities.

  • Is the Lahaina fire contained?

    As per the latest update, the Lahaina fire is now 100% contained (as of September 26th, 2023).

    This means that firefighters have successfully controlled the entire perimeter of the fire.

    However, containment does not necessarily mean that the fire is completely extinguished.

    The Lahaina fire has caused significant damage, burning an estimated 2,170 acres.

    The Maui wildfires, which started on August 8th, have collectively destroyed thousands of acres across Lahaina, Kula, and Olinda.

    While the containment of the Lahaina fire is a significant milestone, it’s important to remember that recovery efforts are ongoing.

    The Maui community continues to work towards restoration and preparedness for future wildfires.

    The devastating impact of these wildfires underscores the need for continued vigilance in fire prevention and safety measures.

  • How did the Maui fire start and what caused it?

    The exact cause of the Maui wildfire is still under investigation by the authorities.

    However, wildfires are often caused by a combination of human and natural factors.

    In the case of the Maui wildfire, it was fueled by drought-parched landscapes and strong winds, creating the perfect conditions for a wildfire to ignite and spread rapidly.

    Over the years, wildfires in Maui have become more frequent and severe due to a combination of these human factors and climate change.

    Higher temperatures, reduced rainfall, and increased wind speeds due to climate change can contribute to creating the dry, windy conditions that are conducive to wildfires.

    While the exact cause of the Maui wildfire is being determined, this event serves as a stark reminder of the critical importance of wildfire prevention and preparedness to protect our communities and our beautiful island.

Written By:
Jessie Paluch
Jessie Paluch

Experienced Attorney & Legal SaaS CEO

With over 25 years of legal experience, Jessie is an Illinois lawyer, a CPA, and a mother of three.  She spent the first decade of her career working as an international tax attorney at Deloitte.

In 2009, Jessie co-founded her own law firm with her husband – which has scaled to over 30 employees since its conception.

In 2016, Jessie founded TruLaw, which allows her to collaborate with attorneys and legal experts across the United States on a daily basis. This hypervaluable network of experts is what enables her to share reliable legal information with her readers!

Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

Camp Lejeune’s water contamination issue spanned several decades starting in the 1950s. Exposure to these chemicals has been linked to various serious health issues, including cancer, organ diseases, and death.

Tylenol Lawsuit

Research is increasingly suggesting a link between the use of Tylenol during pregnancy and the development of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism and ADHD, in infants.

AFFF Lawsuit

Legal action is being taken against manufacturers of Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF), a chemical used in fighting fires. The plaintiffs allege that exposure to the foam caused health issues such as cancer, organ damage, and birth and fertility issues.

Do You
Have A Case?

Here, at TruLaw, we’re committed to helping victims get the justice they deserve.

Alongside our partner law firms, we have successfully collected over $3 Billion in verdicts and settlements on behalf of injured individuals.

Would you like our help?

Helpful Sites & Resources