FEMA Approves Requests for Assistance with Maui County Blazes Under Fire Management Assistance Grant Program

Posted on Aug 9, 2023 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

HONOLULU — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Wednesday, August 9, approved the State of Hawai‘i’s request for a disaster declaration to provide assistance with the wind-whipped wildfires burning in Kula, Kīhei and Lahaina on Maui.

The decision under the Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) program opens the door to allow for federal reimbursement of up to 75% of the eligible firefighting costs.

The fires began early Tuesday, threatening homes, businesses and utilities and over 35,000 people in Kula, Kīhei, and Lahaina. At least six people have been confirmed dead, dozens injured, and hundreds of structures damaged or destroyed. 

The fires had burned more than 2,000 acres of State and private land at the time the request was made and had not been fully contained. High, gusty winds and dry conditions put much of Hawai‘i under a Red Flag Warning that ended late Wednesday, and more fires were burning on the Big Island and Maui.

Firefighters in all incidents had been hampered by the winds, which made it impossible on Tuesday to provide aircraft support for their efforts to contain the flames. 

FEMA Region IX Administrator Robert J. Fenton Jr. determined that the Maui fires threatened such destruction as would constitute a major disaster.

The Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) coordinated the request for assistance and will work with FEMA to identify and track eligible costs.

“Thank you to our federal partners for their quick review and decision, which will help Maui County meet this challenge,” said HI-EMA Administrator James Barros.

FEMA previously approved an FMAG on Tuesday for the wildfire in the Kohala area on Hawai‘i island.


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Adam Weintraub
Communication Director
Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency
[email protected]