Acting Hawaii State Governor Sylvia Luke issued an emergency proclamation today to discourage non-essential air travel to Maui and extend the state of emergency to all counties, and order all affected state agencies to assist with the evacuation.
“This proclamation is to discourage travel to the affected areas so we can prioritize our scarce resources for Maui residents who desperately need assistance,” Luke said.
“This is an unprecedented disaster as an indirect result of Hurricane Dora passing just south of our islands,” Luke, who is acting governor while Governor Josh Green is traveling, said in a statement. “It is truly devastating, and my heart goes out to the residents of Maui and all those impacted.”
As the wildfires continue, visitors with current and planned lodging at West Maui hotels may not have accommodations, state officials said.
The proclamation encourages visitors to West Maui to depart the island as soon as safe and practicable.
Governor Green Returning to Hawaii Due to Emergency
Governor Green had been scheduled to return to Hawaii from personal travel on August 15, but he will be back in the state tonight to address the crisis, his office said.
In a separate news release, the governor’s office issued a statement saying Governor Green will be returning today from his travels to deal with the emergency. He said, “Heroic efforts by first responders have prevented many casualties from occurring, but some loss of life is expected.”
Green said, “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,” Green said in the statement.
“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,” he said.
He said he has named Adjutant General Ken Hara as the state incident commander, and the Hawaii National Guard has mobilized and is being supported by FEMA.
“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,” Green said. “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.”