Aug 8th

Life-threatening wildfires take hold of Maui, forcing whole communities to flee their homes

Hurricane-force winds and rapidly changing fire conditions force evacuations across Maui, engulf historic town of Lahaina.

Mutliple staff at Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) monitoring the fires, were ordered to evacuate their homes in the upcountry areas of Kula, Olinda, as well as the south Maui town of Kihei.

The Lahaina fire quickly overwhelmed firefighting crews and severed communications and power limiting access to evacaution warnings that were issued through the emergency alert system (WEA).

Aug 9th

Understanding the sheer magnitude of devastation

Lacking power and mobile communications, little was known about Maui’s treasured Lahaina town or the fate of its residents and visitors.

PDC's initial estiimates of Maui wildfire damages were issued to aid community-wide response effort.

The following morning, social media images and personal accounts of survivors emerged, detailing a scene of mass death and destruction that left thousands homeless and hundreds injured. The call for immediate humanitarian assistance was sounded.

PDC models offer a clearer picture of the wildfire tragedy in Lahaina

Aug 9 – 10

Local community groups and businesses mobilize an unprecedented humanitarian response

Maui demonstrates the meaning of aloha as community groups mobilize an unprecedented response.

As the news of Maui wildfires makes national and international news, an outpouring of love and aloha from outside organizations is offered to aid community-based wildfire relief efforts.

Soon there becomes a need for increased logistical coordination. PDC, through Maui’s Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (Maui VOAD), helped map, analyze and match incoming offers with requests for help.

Aug 10

Data and analysis help county, state, and federal forces to mobilize relief where help is needed most

With so little information available from the devastated sites, Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) worked in collaboration with the Maui County Enterprise GIS Team and other stakeholders to refine impact estimates used as the basis for the briefings.

Aug 12

Early assessments help inform whole-of-government response

The County of Maui and its first responders, along with Governor Josh Green, the Hawai’i National Guard, and FEMA hold press briefing to communicate the magnitude of the catastrophic impacts from the firestorm events to the general public.

It was the first time official estimates were publicly broadcast by the County of Maui detailing the likely population and infrastructure impacts of the fire on the town of Lahaina. PDC’s estimates also include the upcountry community of Kula where fires continued to burn.

Aug 13

PDC refines fire perimeter and estimates based on new satellite imagery to support ongoing firefighting activities in Lahaina and the upcountry areas of Kula and Olinda.

Aug 14

Officials and community responders at ground zero need updated maps and data to aid Maui wildfire search, recovery, and relief efforts

To support a broad operational understanding of the numerous activities underway and an understanding of the latest public safety protocols, a Daily Operational Picture was developed by the joint agencies at the Emergency Operation Center (EOC).

The platform, along with massive data processing efforts were launched to enable daily briefings at the EOC.

Leveraging Pacific Disaster Center (PDC)’s existing data, mapping expertise, and DisasterAWARE platform, the center took on the support role to provide expertise and tools needed for the emerging need.

Aug 16

Aug 17 – 20

Relief continues, search and recovery begins

Following a week of ongoing response and relief efforts, and nearly a thousand of Maui’s loved ones reported still missing, the unrelenting work to identify remains from the devastating Lahaina wildfire and to restore critical services continued.

Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) continued to aid the recovery effort by processing and sharing data updates, and developing new analytics based upon ground-verified information.