Destruction of Maui Fires | Maui Banyan Tree

palm tree silhouettes stand on a sandy beach with the sunrise turning the sky orange and pink while the ocean waves roll in.

You never know what you're going to get when you get up for sunrise. This sunrise at Mama's Fish House was absolutely worth it. The sky lit up and the palm tree silhouettes seemed to lean right into it. Wish I could start every day this way!

News of these fires made my heart sink. I've visited the beautiful island of Maui many times and have friends living there. I was grateful to learn they were safe but devastated to learn of the depth of destruction. Fires on the island of Maui began on Tuesday, August 8, 2023 as strong winds fueled sparks from a downed powerline. The historic town of Lahaina was nearly completely destroyed as the fire spread so quickly that many people headed to the ocean to escape the flames.

By the time the sun set on Wednesday, August 9, there were over 11,000 customers without electricity, over 14,000 people moved off the island and hundreds of people unaccounted for as lack of radio and cell signals challenged communications. Search and rescue teams were launched to find missing people. CNN's chief climate correspondent Bill Weir reported from the damaged Lahaina town Thursday. “(There was) just lifeless, smoky, and where Lahaina town used to be,” Weir said.

Burned cars, road, and trees after the fire in August 2023.
Burned cars and destroyed buildings are pictured in the aftermath of a wildfire in Lahaina, western Maui, Hawaii on August 11, 2023. PAULA RAMON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

People Still Missing on Maui and Death Toll

As of August 25, 2023 there are still 388 people missing and 115 people dead making the Maui fire the deadliest wildfire in history. The number of people who lost their lives in this wildfire is expected to continue to rise.

Lahaina Banyan tree after the fire in August 2023. Time will tell if it is still alive.
The beloved 150-year-old banyan tree in the historic town of Lahaina, on the Hawaiian island of Maui, was charred but standing after wildfires destroyed most of the town this month. Credit: Philip Cheung for The New York Times

Relief and Rebuilding Lahaina and Maui

With disaster relief and time, Maui will rebuild. Its residents are cautious to move too quickly and want to see the culture and traditions respected and preserved.

To contribute to the relief effort, consider a donation to the Maui Strong Fund.

Donate to the Maui Strong fund to help those who suffered from the destruction.
Logo of the Hawai'i Community Foundation

The Maui Strong Fund is providing financial resources to support the immediate and long-term recovery needs for the people and places affected by the devastating Maui wildfires.

HCF is working in close collaboration with state and county leaders, nonprofit organizations, and community members to get an understanding of the quickly evolving priorities.

Print Purchase Profits Donated to Maui Strong Fund

In addition to making a donation to the fund, Joe Garza Photography is donating 20% of all profits through the end of September to the Maui Strong Fund.

Consider a print of this gorgeous island to help support rebuilding. You can visit Joe's collection of Maui images here or select an image from any other of the fine art images for sale for your wall art.

Sunset is seen from a sandy beach with dark lava rocks and palm trees as the water swirls on the shore.

Makena Beach, also known as Secrets Beach, on the island of Maui is one of the most beautiful beaches for sunset. The palm trees, dark lava rocks along the shore, and soft sandy beach bring the perfect place to watch the day wind down.

Makena Beach Sunset | Best Beaches on Maui