Maui fire update from the north shore of Maui

Real Estate Agent with Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers HRE# 58089 - RS

Maui fire update from the north shore of Maui

Our recent Hawaiian disaster has made ripples across the globe and it seems everyone wants to know if we're safe, so I hope this helps.

Yes we are safe in Haiku Maui because it's on the windward side, upwind of the fires, and generally green and lush due to rain.  Maui has been suffering from a drought, but not the whole island.  Hana, Kipahulu, Nahiku, Huelo, Haiku - these are some of the wetter and more jungly parts where wild fires are not expected or normal, and even in a drought we stay green.

Front St Lahaina before the fires

On the other side of the island, it's dry, it's hot and it's more densely built up and populated.  With the super high winds we experienced earlier this week, it became the perfect conditions for fires to spread quickly.  Firefighters were busy putting out fires in the Upcountry area during the daytime and evening of Tuesday (and still, I might add).  On Tuesday night, some fires started above Lahaina town, with winds accelerating coming down the mountain, causing flames and embers to cover ground so quickly that fire personnel couldn't get there in time before the whole town was engulfed.  There's basically only one 2-lane road in and out, which often causes a bottle neck in the best of times.  So in the worst of times, there was not much that could be done.  It was too windy for aircraft to be of any help.  Road access was sketchy, and being used by people fleeing.  Over 20 power poles were down and still live.  Cell towers were knocked out.  Communications were quickly non existent.  Even the harbor was burned, boats, docks and all.... these are pictures of things we'll never see again!

Lahaina Harbor before the fire

It's a real tragedy that we're still trying to wrap our heads around as it unfolds.  My heart breaks for the loss of lives and the destruction.  I'm also sorry that tourists have been displaced and others won't be able to make their much hoped for trips here.  It's an epic situation, and it's being handled with a huge response on all levels, including the local community.

Some things I've learned from this and other disasters:

  • you never know when something awful will happen
  • pay attention to your immediate surroundings at all times - YOU are responsible for you
  • always be prepared for an emergency with ample food, water and other important supplies to last a few weeks or more
  • keep a go-bag in your car with basics to cover your immediate needs
  • keep your gas tank topped up, and your batteries charged up
  • don't expect help to arrive immediately because it's not easy for them either
  • have a plan and discuss it with your household about where to go and how to keep in touch
  • the community will help, so be part of the community and know your neighbors, check on neighbors
  • keep fit, be prepared

If you want to help please try these resources:

Thanks to everyone who checked in with us to see if we're safe.  We are very lucky and blessed to be able to write this.  Take care.

Thanks for reading my Maui blog...

Buying or selling real estate on Maui?  That's what I do.  Let me help YOU.

Georgie Hunter R(S) e-Pro, Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers
E-mail or call/text: 808 283-0635

Comments (59)

Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Aloha Georgie,

Maui is like a second home to us.  We have vacation ownership at the Maui Marriott in Kaanapali.  Our next trip is planned for May 2024.  We will be going unless the resort is shut down.  

We have been through 2 earthquakes and tsunamis while staying at the resort and we were one of the first groups of visitors when the island opened up after 9/11.  We know how vulnerable the island is.  We will be there with our prayers, our donations, and other support.  Maui is Ohana.

Aug 13, 2023 09:21 AM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
The Grit and Gratitude Agent

Good to know you are safe and sorry to read of the loss of life and property. I did see video of people jumping into the ocean to avoid the flames. Here in the high desert with very little monsoons so far, we are continually vigilant for brush fires.

Aug 13, 2023 10:33 AM
Elyse Berman, PA
LoKation Real Estate - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824

I'm very glad to hear you're okay but heartbroken to read and see the devastation on the other side.  We live with the threat of hurricanes, lightening and, more recently, some tornados.  Prayers to all. 

Aug 13, 2023 01:36 PM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Thank you.  You're all so kind and I appreciate the thoughts and prayers directed at those who need it the most.  This really drives home the fact that you need to have supplies on hand at home.  Many residents of West Maui were not directly affected by the fires, but the road blockage has prevented them getting in and out for basic things like water and food.  It's become a crisis on top of a crisis, but thankfully the community is stepping in and dealing with it.  BE PREPARED AT ALL TIMES.

Aug 13, 2023 08:13 PM
Carol Williams

Good point, Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 
During the pandemic, I was glad I had extra supplies on hand, so I did not feel compelled to go to the store right away. We should ALWAYS be prepared whether we need to stay in place or evacuate.

Aug 14, 2023 07:51 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 - your last update on 8/13/2023 was a poignant reminder about staying prepared. Soon it will be Hurricane Season on the East Coast. We can never assume we'll have time at the last minute to do the things we should have done, in the first place, or take any day for granted.

Be safe! Be prepared! Be smart! Thank you, Georgie for these simple reminders. We are all glad to know you are safe, and grateful to hear from you. 

Aug 14, 2023 03:31 AM
Eileen Burns 954.483.3912

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP our hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov 30th.  I echo Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 list to be prepared and comments on Steven Nickens post as well.  

Aug 14, 2023 07:43 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Thanks, Georgie, for your update. I wish I could say I understand what you are living through... but obviously, that's not possible. But I can say that you and all the residents of Maui are in my thoughts and prayers these days.

Aug 14, 2023 05:52 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

Prayers going out all the Hawaiian people affected by the devastating fires, glad you're ok, Georgie.

Aug 14, 2023 06:41 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
CEO of Vision Drive Realty - Coastal San Diego

We call Wailea our second home as we've owned a condo there (my family) since 1975.
Ailina Nelson and I were married at The Grand Wailea and we've spend countless weeks and months their in the las 48 years.
I have played on the Banyan Tree as a child and cooled myself under it many times as an adult. We saw Willie K perform many times at Kimo's and have shopped Lahaina Town for decades. 
Our hearts were broken over this tragedy and we pray for the ohanas that have lost loved ones and we pray for Maui. 

Aug 14, 2023 07:07 AM
Eileen Burns 954.483.3912
Trans State Commercial RE Ft. Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beach - Fort Lauderdale, FL
FLorida Real Estate Connector

So sad to see the devastation and loss of life on your beautiful island Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 You are spot on with your list to be prepared with little notice.  I trust NAR is taking action to help where needed. 

Perhaps the vacation rentals can be used for temporary housing for those who lost everything.  I know FEMA used state and county parks here in florida with trailers for people who were displaced from hurricanes over time.  

Aug 14, 2023 07:47 AM
Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216, - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Hi Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 What a horrible tragedy in Maui. Thanks for the update on your safety. Our prayers go out to all those affected by those fires on the island. 

Aug 14, 2023 10:15 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I appreciate all the concern, prayers, and feedback.  The local community has been super about stepping in and taking care of those in need.  The government is doing the best they can and it will take a lot of time to put things right again.  I feel that we all need to get prepared for more of this kind of thing.

Aug 15, 2023 05:01 PM
Edward Gilmartin
CRE - Boston, MA

They have burying power lines in my community for decades. Seems like a smart practice esp in dry regions.

Aug 16, 2023 04:11 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Edward Gilmartin I sure hope they'll figure that out over here, but I suspect in their haste to get power up, they'll just do the same thing as before. 

Aug 16, 2023 01:35 PM
Sun City Grand Homes Surprise AZ Real Estate Leolinda Bowers Designated Broker Leolinda Realty
Leolinda Realty - Surprise, AZ
Sun City Grand in Surprise Arizona

Good to read that you are safe and well. Hope all in your ohana is well. Mālama aina

Aug 19, 2023 01:29 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Good Tuesday morning, Georgie.

Have a great day and an outstanding week.

Aug 22, 2023 10:19 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 - wishing you blue clear skies and all of life's beauty! The people on the other side of the island are always on my mind. May not one person be forgotten. 

Aug 30, 2023 05:51 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Hi Georgie! Just checking in with you to see how you are doing. Would love to have you share your experience with this and give our members an update on 10/3. Are you available for our ZOOM call on the 3rd? I know Steven is no longer selling real estate so, if you could cover that aspect of it, that would be great too! 

Sending big hugs!

Aug 31, 2023 08:09 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089

Debe Maxwell, CRS Hi Debe, thanks for keeping in touch.  You know, I'm so isolated and far removed from the West Side that I'm not the person to keep you updated.  All I know is what I see in the media, and a few things I hear from other agents.  The only people I know/knew in Lahaina are other agents. 

Home sales continue here in other areas, and there has been some temporary relief offered to those who need to pay mortgages.  Rebuilding will take years, when you consider that in normal times many people wait over a year just to get a building permit.  The wheels of government turn very slowly on our island.  Just the discussions about what to rebuild will take years.  Maybe Lahaina won't be rebuilt in its most recent state, but maybe it's time for a change back to the old ways.

It's hard to say how this will affect the market in the long run, but Maui is still a very special place and those who can afford it will still come.   It's always been a balancing act between tourism and the local population, and we're experiencing new things and ways to support the economy.  It's really tough for those who depend on tourism because many see that as a bad thing, (but a much needed thing).  Just before Covid we had reached a point where tourism was becoming unsustainable - too many people with no respect for the environment.  There has to be a happy median there somewhere. 

In any event, I'm still selling homes on the north shore where things are the same as always, and I expect prices will continue to go up over here when people realize the beauty of this area.

Aug 31, 2023 03:47 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Oh, I love your answer, Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089! I can totally see how tourism can have its negatives and that your island also needs it. I suppose it's a double-edged sword. 

I'm so happy to hear that you're still selling houses and that things remain the same. As for the government delays - we move slowly here too! You have to know people in order to get things done expediently!

Sep 07, 2023 03:34 PM
Ricardo Mello
Manhattan Miami Real Estate - Manhattan, NY
Manhattan & Miami Real Estate Agent

I'm very glad to hear you're okay Georgie!

Sep 10, 2023 12:34 PM
Gloria Todor
Premier Property Sales & Rentals - Springfield, PA
& Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA

Georgie, Good to hear you are okay and thanks for letting us know.  Take care

Sep 12, 2023 09:06 AM