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Wildfires Rage Through Lahaina, Maui

Much of Hawaii’s waterfront town of Lahaina, Maui, is in the grips of a wildfire that is destroying homes and businesses, and causing people to jump into the water to save themselves. What began as a brush fire was fanned partly by winds from Hurricane Dora. which passed south of the Islands. The US Coast Guard has been on scene, amid unconfirmed reports of around 100 people in need of rescue. Hawaii News Now reports what “onlookers believe is the worst natural disaster in Hawaii’s history since Hurricane Iniki.” (Iniki was a Category 4 hurricane with wind speeds of 143 mph. It made landfall on September 11, 1992. Six deaths were reported.) Hawaii’s acting Gov. Sylvia Luke has issued an emergency proclamation to all counties, and nonessential air travel to Maui is now being discouraged. All affected state agencies have also been ordered to assist with the evacuation.

The following video from ABC7 shows the current situation in Lahaina.

Lahaina has an interesting history, which includes its importance as the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845, and being a destination for around 400 whaling ships annually. Today the town is a popular tourist destination. It is also a destination among sailors, as it is the finishing point for the biennial Vic-Maui International Yacht Race. It is also the home of solo racer Ronnie Simpson, who is currently in Maine preparing for the Global Solo Challenge aboard the Open 50 Sparrow. Ronnie told us that one of the Maui firefighters, Keahi Ho, who we presume is rather busy right now, raced the Transpac aboard Merlin, and owns a charter sailboat, Gung Ho. We hope to chat with Keahi Ho and learn more about what’s going on in Lahaina.


  1. Mike Sowers 10 months ago

    Fly over. Lahaina is gone.

  2. Barry spanier 10 months ago

    A couple years ago we sold our Westsail 42 CORNELIA to a wonderful couple who poured more love, time, and money to have her ready to south in a couple months. Sadly, just like all the boats in the harbor, she was lost in the flames. Another harbor friend said the wind was hurricane strength and the fire came so fast they were forced to get into the water as everything began to explode and burn. Flaming diesel in the water, boats broken loose as the docklines burned, then blowing down the harbor. Apparently there were boats on moorings in the roadstead that burned like torches.
    Lahaina was all about history, now, like the CORNELIAS, NOA, SARA, JAYHAWK, and the many others, it is now just history. When the cleanup is done there will be a pretty clean slate, but never again Lahaina as anyone knew it.
    Our sail loft may have survived, but there is no one there to serve anymore. My son, who runs the loft got out of his home with a backpack and his bike and nothing else. He is alive, thank God for that, but now has nothing, always a most interesting state of being. I think breathing is going to be special for him for some time.
    My heart aches for the loss of such an iconic place.

  3. Rich Jepsen 10 months ago

    Our hearts are broken. We grieve the lives lost, the loss of Main St., Lahaina YC, Pacific Whale Foundation and so many other treasures of Maui. Thank you for the update and thanks for the further detail in comments.

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