In photos: Before-and-after images show extent of destruction in Lahaina (2024)

12:30 p.m. ET, August 10, 2023

In photos: Before-and-after images show extent of destruction in Lahaina

Stark before-and-after pictures show charred remains of areas in Lahaina on Maui after wildfires ravaged the town.

Here's what the area around Lahaina Shores Beach Resort looked like prior to the fires:

In photos: Before-and-after images show extent of destruction in Lahaina (1)

Now, widespread destruction can be seen surrounding the resort:

In photos: Before-and-after images show extent of destruction in Lahaina (2)

This is King Kamehameha III Elementary School and the surrounding area as it looked before the fires:

In photos: Before-and-after images show extent of destruction in Lahaina (3)

Now, here's what remains:

In photos: Before-and-after images show extent of destruction in Lahaina (4)
12:40 p.m. ET, August 10, 2023

"All my 50 years oflife is completely burnt to the ground," Maui resident says after evacuating

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

La Phena Davis is one of the many Maui residents who have lost their homes and communities to wildfires on the island.

Davis said she could see the fire on the mountainside from her bedroom window in Lahaina yesterday afternoon. An hour later, she said the wildfire smoke had made its way from the mountains to the ocean.

"But never in a million years did I think that fire would reach our home," she told CNN. "It was such a black, thick smoke that we immediately just left our homes. We barely grabbed anything. I literally didn't grab any clothes."

"I grabbed my important papers, buteverything that we owned, and you know, in all my 50 years oflife is completely burnt to the ground," Davis said.

Now in the town of Kihei, she said she is "in limbo and a little bit numb." There is a"lot of processing and unraveling" to come fromthis "extremely traumatic experience" for the whole community that she has now lost, she said.

Her family's great-grandparents, grandparents and grandchildren who lived in their home are displaced and homeless, she said. "We are just one home of hundreds of people that are in that situation," she added.

"There is absolutely nothing leftof our neighborhood," she said.

"It is not just the loss ofthe home, but it is the loss ofour entire community, ourtown that we have known it to befor generations.It's completely devastating. We are shook to our core,and it's not something thatanybody can wrap any thoughts orreal emotions around it rightnow," Davis told CNN.

Watch her interview:

11:52 a.m. ET, August 10, 2023

FEMA is seeing widespread devastation across several neighborhoods, official says

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is seeing "widespread devastation across many different neighborhoods in Maui," FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell told CNN on Thursday.

With most of the fires still burning out of control, the agency's presence has been limited by the small size of the island, the FEMA official said.

FEMA is "limited in our ability to where can put people, because it is isolated as an island," Criswell said on "CNN News Central." "So we're going to work closely with the state to understand what resources they need and what types of creative solutions we're going to have to bring in."

So far, the agency has been working on increasing connectivity on the island — where residents have reported a lack of cell phone service — and have provided meals for 5,000 people for up to five days, with plans to roll out more resources as needed, Criswell said.

The FEMA administrator deferred to state officials for specific counts, but said it was clear that thousands of people have been displaced by the fires.

Criswell likened the situation on the island to the Boulder, Colorado wildfire of 2021, which was also driven by excessive winds that allowed the blaze to spread very rapidly.

12:08 p.m. ET, August 10, 2023

FAA restricts airspace near Maui wildfires

From CNN's Pete Muntean

In photos: Before-and-after images show extent of destruction in Lahaina (5)

The federal government is keeping flights away from the Maui wildfires in Hawaii.

The Federal Aviation Administration has posted a trio of temporary flight restrictions near the fire-devastated town of Lahaina.

The largest restriction is offshore Lahaina “to provide a safe environment for rescue.” Some in the town reportedly fled from the fast-moving fire by jumping into the ocean.The Coast Guard's Capt. Aja Kirksey told CNN that while there have been no additional reports of people in the water, she has instructed her teams to operate as though there are still potential survivors in need of assistance or victims that need to be recovered.

The two other temporary flight restrictions are over the areas of Kihei and Kula “to provide a safe environment” for firefighters.

11:46 a.m. ET, August 10, 2023

Maui restaurant owner says there is “nothing left” of the once bustling town of Lahaina

From CNN's Matt Meyer

The owner of a popular restaurant in the town of Lahaina, an economic and tourism hub on Maui, told CNN that some of her business' employees are sleeping in their cars with family as they search for shelter, while others remain unaccounted for.

The restaurant, Cheeseburger in Paradise, was destroyed by the wildfires raging on the island, along with the majority of town.

Owner Laren Gartner is watching the destruction and trying to coordinate with employees from her location in California, though she hopes to travel to the island as soon as she can safely do so, she said on "CNN News Central" Thursday.

Between the restaurant and a brewery, which was also destroyed, Gartner's businesses employ 80 to 120 people. She is still trying to coordinate with many of them.

"There is no cell phone (service), there's no electricity, there's no devices to be used anywhere. We don't know where our employees are," Gartner told CNN.

"We have some people sleeping in their cars on the side of the highway with their families, their animals — and we haven't been able to find them," she added.

Gartner said she has begun to see images of the town's destruction for the first time.

"Lahaina looks like a bomb went off. There is nothing left. The entire village has been turned into rubble," she told CNN.

The restaurant owner says she isn't sure whether her team will be able to rebuild the businesses. Her top priority right now, she said, was confirming the well-being of her employees.

"We're going to need help from America," Gartner said, mentioning that fundraising efforts for the business' employees were underway.

11:34 a.m. ET, August 10, 2023

More than 50 people who fled flames by running into ocean were rescued by Coast Guard

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

The US Coast Guard said it rescued 17 survivors and assisted in recovering 40 others off the shore of Lahaina as wildfires have spread in Maui since Tuesday.

"On Tuesday night, as the Lahaina brush fire really rapidly spread west and engulfed the downtown Lahaina area, the Coast Guard began receiving reports of people who had to flee the flames and the smoke all the way down to shore line and ultimately into the water off of Lahaina," according to Capt. Aja Kirksey, commander of the Honolulu sector of the US Coast Guard.

"Initial reports of people in the water were around a hundred," she told CNN.

CNN on Wednesday reported that the wildfires had spurred some people to jump into the ocean to escape the danger.

The 17 people rescued by the guard were taken to Coast Guard Station Maui, while the 40 others were taken to a nearby location for further evacuation, Kirksey said.

Hazardous conditions also posed major challenges for what Kirksey called the "mass rescue operation."

Helicopters were "unable to make water approaches due to the extremely low visibility that they were encountering," Kirksey said, adding that boats were able to get to uninjured survivors.

The Coast Guard also received "some support from several good Samaritans in that area," she said.

The search-and-rescue response remains the top priority for the Coast Guard, Kirksey said, noting that while there have been no additional reports, she has instructed her teams to operate as though there are still potential survivors in need of assistance or victims that need to be recovered.

9:25 a.m. ET, August 10, 2023

Drought worsening in Hawaii, new data shows

From CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar

Drought worsened in Hawaii over the past week, leading to fire spread according to thelatest US drought monitorreleased Thursday morning.

Drier-than-normal conditions have led to an increase in drought levels across Hawaii. Statewide moderate drought levels have increased from 6% to 14% since last week.

Maui County has experienced a significant uptick in severe level drought conditions — from 5% last week to 16% this week.

This map shows areas that are abnormally dry or in drought conditions:

In photos: Before-and-after images show extent of destruction in Lahaina (6)

12:59 p.m. ET, August 10, 2023

At least 36 dead as devastating wildfires sweep across Maui. Here's what you need to know

From CNN staff

In photos: Before-and-after images show extent of destruction in Lahaina (7)

At least 36 people have been killed in Maui County as wildfires sweep across parts of the island, county officials said late Wednesday.

If you're just joining us, catch up on the latest from Hawaii here:

  • Among the most devastated areas:Much of the western Maui community of Lahaina, whereabout 12,000 people live, is destroyed and hundreds of families there have been displaced, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said. More than 270 structures have been impacted in Lahaina, county officialssaid. In addition to the homes and businesses that were wiped out, the toll on historical and cultural sites in Lahaina has been devastating, a CNN analysis of new Maxar Technologies satellite imagery shows. The images, taken at 11:03 a.m. local time Wednesday, show that one of the largest banyan trees in the US – the size of an entire city block and more than 60 feet high – has been burnt. It was imported from India in 1873, Hawaii’s Tourism Authority says.
  • Some are unaccounted for:Three helicopters from the US Coast Guard and US Navy were used in search and rescue efforts along the west Maui coastline, and a federal team arrived Wednesday tohelp search efforts in the Lahaina area, officials said.
  • Cell service out for thousands in Maui:It could takedays or even weeksto fix networks. Officials have been using satellite phones to communicate with providers on the west side of Maui to restore power to the area, Lt. Gov. Sylvia Lukesaid. Emergency and evacuation response efforts have been hampered by widespreadcell service outages, which have prevented people from calling 911 or updating loved ones about their status, according to authorities.
  • Power outages:More than 11,000 customers on Maui were without power as of 11 p.m. Wednesday local time (5 a.m. ET Thursday), according, accounting for about 15% of the island’s customers. Power crews are working to repair downed lines and additional crews are being deployed from Oahu, Hawaiian Electric said in anews release.
  • Many in shelters:More than 2,100 people were in four emergency shelters in Maui on Tuesday night, the mayor’s officesaid. While there’s enough shelter for an emergency response for a few days, “there’s not enough shelter for long term living,” the governor told CNN.

In photos: Before-and-after images show extent of destruction in Lahaina (8)

  • Visitors urged to leave:Maui County officials areaskingvisitors to leave Lahaina and Maui as soon as possible, noting seats were available on outgoing flights. More than 11,000 people were flown out of Maui on Wednesday, according to Hawaii Department of Transportation director Ed Sniffen. Hawaii Gov. Josh Green strongly discouraged nonessential travel to Maui, but a tourism official of the island state emphasized that other parts of Hawaii, such as Oahu and Waikiki are still open and have occupancy.
  • Hospitals overwhelmed:Hospitals on Maui were overwhelmed with burn patients and people suffering from smoke inhalation, Luke told CNN Wednesday. Some patients should be taken elsewhere because Maui hospitals aren’t equipped for extensive burn treatment, but transportation challenges have made that difficult, Luke said.
  • Here's how you can help Hawaii wildfire victims:Clickhereto support relief efforts. Impact Your World will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates with more ways to help.
9:06 a.m. ET, August 10, 2023

White House is "working very closely with Hawaii" but won't comment on disaster declaration

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal and Priscilla Alvarez

In photos: Before-and-after images show extent of destruction in Lahaina (9)

The White House is "working very closely with Hawaii" as the state struggles with devastating wildfires that have left dozens dead Thursday, according to National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications Jon Kirby.

However, he came short of announcing the approval of an emergency declaration.

A White House official told CNN that Hawaii has asked for shelter supplies from FEMA, including water, food, cots, and blankets. FEMA Region 9 Administrator Bob Fenton and his team are in Oahu, and he has mobilized an Incident Management Assistance Team to help with the federal response, the official added.

President Joe Biden is "treating this with all the due gravity and the seriousness that the climate crisis deserves," Kirby said.

Biden, in his statement earlier, had said he has ordered federal assets to assist with wildfire response, pointing to the Hawaiian National Guard that's mobilizing Chinook helicopters “to help with fire suppression and search and rescue on the Island of Maui” as well as response and rescue from the US Coast Guard and Navy fleets. Marines, he added, “are providing Black Hawk Helicopters to fight the fires on the Big Island.”

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said earlier Wednesday he expects to submit a request for a presidential disaster declaration “in the next 36 to 48 hours.” Green said the White House “has been incredibly supportive.”

In photos: Before-and-after images show extent of destruction in Lahaina (2024)


What caused the fire in Lahaina Maui? ›

The state's main electric provider, Hawaiian Electric, is facing a lawsuit claiming power lines blown over by high winds helped to cause the destructive Lahaina wildfire, though an official cause of the wildfire has not yet been determined.

How much of Maui has burned? ›

The Pacific Disaster Center and FEMA estimated that 2,170 acres of Maui has burned, per a statement from Maui officials Saturday.

What caused the Maui fires in Hawaii? ›

While many things could have provided the initial spark for the flames, which were fanned by high winds, electrical lines have a tragic history of triggering fires during wind storms.

Why is Hawaii on fire? ›

Governor Josh Green said the state was experiencing dry conditions due to climate change and, with a major storm passing south of the state, multiple blazes began to spread quickly and uncontrollably in what he called a “fire hurricane”.

Is Lahaina fire still burning? ›

Lahaina fire still around 85% contained, officials say.

What time did Lahaina burn? ›

6 a.m.: In the early morning hours, around 6:30 a.m., a brush fire of about three acres was reported around Lahainaluna Road, which passed through this historic town of Lahaina in West Maui.

Could Maui erupt again? ›

Maui's massive volcano, Haleakala, will one day erupt again. Although Haleakala is considered dormant, volcanologists say that a future eruption at Haleakala is inevitable- it's not a matter of if, but when.

Is Maui in danger of volcano? ›

Maui volcanoes are safe to visit as the chance of an eruption is very low per the US Geological Survey. Haleakala is considered an active volcano by the US Geological Survey (USGS).

Has a tsunami ever hit Maui? ›

On April 1 at about 2am Hawaiian time a 7.4 magnitude earthquake occurred in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Five hours later, the giant waves resulting from the seafloor movement struck the north shore of Maui, wiping out everything on Keanae except for the Congregational Church, or Lanakila Ihihi O lehova O na Kaua.

Where did Maui steal fire from? ›

To steal fire from his ancestress, Mahuika, Maui slipped out in the night and extinguished all the cooking fires.

Where did the Lahaina fire start? ›

A fire had started in the dry grass near her home on Lahainaluna Road, on a slope just east of the highway that bypasses downtown. Power poles fell in the neighborhood, and wires had snapped — leading several neighbors to later question whether electrical equipment had started the blaze.

Did Maui pull down the sun? ›

Maui commanded the sun to slow down – “No longer will you dictate the length of our days – from now on you will travel slowly across the sky!” After a long and violent fight, and a few more jawbone strikes, the sun finally gave up – and agreed to slow down.

How many have died in Maui? ›

At least 99 people were killed in Maui's wildfires. With only 25% of the burn area searched, officials worry the death toll will climb.

What is the death toll in Maui? ›

Maui wildfires death toll rises to 99 as crews continue search for missing victims. The confirmed death toll in the wildfires that swept through Maui last week rose to 99 on Monday as more than 1,000 people remained unaccounted for, local officials said.

How many died in Maui? ›

6 residents, including 4 from one family, are among at least 99 people killed in the Maui wildfire. The apocalyptic wildfires that raced across Maui have claimed at least 99 lives – a devastating number that's expected to grow.

What was the fuel leak in Maui? ›

On the summit of Haleakalā, an estimated 700 gallons of diesel fuel spilled at the Maui Space Surveillance Complex, according to the U.S. Pacific Air Forces. The spill was caused by the failure of a diesel fuel pump for an onsite backup generator to shut off during the night of Jan.

What was the gas leak in Maui Hawaii? ›

WAILUKU, Hawaii — The Space Force said a power surge during a lightning storm likely caused a mechanical issue that allowed about 700 gallons (2,750 liters) of diesel fuel to spill last week at the environmentally sensitive and culturally important summit of Haleakala mountain on Hawaii's Maui Island.

How fast did the Maui fire spread? ›

“When the winds rose up – winds gusting as high as 81 mph – fires spread rapidly,” Green said. “We believe between 60 mph and 81 mph across that part of the island, and that meant that fire traveled one mile every minute.”

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