Office of the Governor – News Release – Gov. Green Returning Home for Wildfire Emergency on Maui, Big Island

Posted on Aug 9, 2023 in Latest Department News, Newsroom, Office of the Governor Press Releases

HONOLULU — Governor Josh Green, M.D., is responding to the wildfire emergency affecting the people of Maui and Hawai‘i Counties by returning home to the islands immediately.

“The wind-fueled fires have devastated many of our communities and people will be looking to our office for leadership while we address the ongoing emergency and do what we can as a state to rebuild lives,” said Governor Green.

The Governor has been in constant contact with the leadership team including Acting Governor Sylvia Luke, getting regular updates on Hurricane Dora which passed Hawai‘i to the south, and on the fires as they began. He has also been in contact with the White House as we prepare for what will inevitably be a request for emergency federal assistance.

“We have suffered a terrible disaster in the form of a wildfire that has spread widely as a result of hurricane-force winds in the region and underlying drought conditions. Maui and the Big Island both experienced significant fires. Much of Lahaina on Maui has been destroyed and hundreds of local families have been displaced,” said Governor Green.

“Heroic efforts by first responders have prevented many casualties from occurring, but some loss of life is expected. Our entire emergency response team, including the Hawai‘i National Guard has mobilized and is being supported by FEMA. We have named Adjutant General Ken Hara as our state incident commander. He was my partner in Hawai‘i’s successful COVID response.”

“The White House has been incredibly supportive and we expect to submit a request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration in the next 36 to 48 hours, once we know how vast the damage is.”

“Our state appreciates the incredible outpouring of concern and prayers from the mainland. We won’t forget the aloha you have already begun to share with us,” he said.

The Governor had been scheduled to return to Hawai‘i from personal travel August 15, but will be back in the state tonight to address the crisis.

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Media Contacts:   

Erika Engle 

Press Secretary 

Office of the Governor, State of Hawai‘i 

Phone: (808) 586-0120

Email: [email protected]


Makana McClellan   

Director of Communications   

Office of the Governor, State of Hawaiʻi  

Cell: (808265-0083   

Email: [email protected]