Maui Wildfire Travel Advisories and Restrictions

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Post updated: September 29, 2023

Setting Sun on Maui's Flames: A New Dawn Beckons

As the sun kisses the horizon in Maui, it whispers tales of resilience, painting a canvas that inspires hope amidst the recent tragic wildfires. Journey with us as we explore how to foster aloha and compassion during this period of recovery.

Background on the recent wildfires in West Maui

The serene landscapes of West Maui recently bore witness to an unprecedented disaster, the deadliest U.S. wildfire in over a century and Hawaii's worst natural catastrophe in modern history. On the fateful day of August 8, 2023, Hurricane Dora exacerbated the already devastating wildfires, unleashing winds over 65mph, wreaking havoc and affecting hundreds of lives and homes in the region.

In Lahaina, historically rich sites such as the Waiola Church and Lahaina Hongwanji Mission have succumbed to the flames, marking a dark day in the annals of Hawai‘i history. With over 100 lives lost, hundreds missing, and more than 2200 structures razed, the community rallies together, unified in grief and determination to rebuild.

Current State of Maui

Yes, it is ok to travel to Maui, except for the West Maui area. The rest of the island is open for tourism and leisure travel. However, it is important to be aware of the following before you travel:

  • The wildfires in West Maui have caused significant damage and disruption. The area is still recovering, and some businesses and attractions may be closed.
  • There are still some road closures in place in West Maui. Please check with your airline or rental car company for the latest updates.

Areas Affected by the Wildfires: Predominantly, the wildfires ravaged the areas of Lahaina, Nāpili, Kāʻanapali, and Kapalua. Governor Josh Green has underscored the immense loss in Lahaina, with around 80% of the region witnessing extensive destruction.

Advice for Prospective Travelers As Maui prepares to welcome visitors once more, it beckons travelers to walk a path of understanding and respect. If you have upcoming plans, consider focusing your adventures on areas outside of West Maui, ensuring a journey marked with mālama and sensitivity towards the healing community.

Travel Restrictions and Future Reopening Plans

In light of the ongoing recovery efforts, travel restrictions have been implemented, discouraging non-essential visits to West Maui till at least October 8, 2023. After that date, according to Mayor Richard T. Bissen, a phased reopening process will begin. Kapalua and Kaanapali are both situated in West Maui, the main tourist region famous for its luxurious resorts, stunning beaches, and world-class golf courses. If you were to drive from Kapalua to Kaanapali, you'd be covering approximately 9 miles.

  1. Phase 1: Starting at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua, a haven for travelers seeking top-notch amenities, we go all the way to Kahana Villas in Napili. Kapalua is home to one of Maui's most famous bays and offers a wide range of activities, from golfing to snorkeling.
  2. Phase 2: After a rigorous assessment, the next stretch takes us from Mahinahina in Napili to Maui Kaanapali Villas. Napili is renowned for its crescent-shaped bays and is a less commercialized haven for travelers.
  3. Phase 3: This is where the community truly comes into focus. The phase aims at providing housing for displaced residents, spanning from Royal Lahaina Resort to the Hyatt Regency. The Hyatt Regency is part of the larger Kaanapali Beach Resort area, a vibrant locale with a rich history dating back to the times of Hawaiian royalty.
West Maui Re-Opening Timeline Graph
3 phased reopening timeline for West Maui

Meanwhile, other areas on Maui remain unaffected, yet echo a silent plea for mindful and respectful travel.

How to Visit Respectfully

Guidelines for Visiting Maui Travelers are urged to adopt an ethos of respectful travel, enhancing their experiences by understanding the cultural and historical significance of the places they explore, especially in these testing times.

Volunteer Opportunities Infuse your trip with the spirit of aloha by partaking in volunteer opportunities, a heartfelt gesture to support the disaster recovery efforts on the island.

Learning About Lahaina Though Lahaina remains closed to the public, understanding its rich tapestry can foster a deeper connection with the island, inviting travelers to return when the region blossoms anew.

Support for Maui Communities

In these trying times, solidarity is the guiding light. The ‘County of Maui’ and various organizations have rallied to provide support, urging visitors to be integral parts of the healing journey.

Supporting Local Businesses Empathetic and conscious patronage of local businesses can be a beacon of hope, fostering a resilient economy and nurturing the spirit of community.

The Maui Strong Fund and How to Donate Become a pillar of support by contributing to the Maui Strong Fund, a beacon of hope facilitating the rejuvenation of the affected communities. Your contributions can pave the way for a brighter tomorrow.

Travel Preparations

As the ember of excitement kindles for your forthcoming journey, being well-prepared can ensure a fulfilling and respectful visit.

What Travelers Need to Know Keep abreast of the latest updates and navigate your plans with sensitivity and awareness, ensuring a journey that embraces the principles of aloha and compassion.

Resources for Latest Updates Reliable platforms such as the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority offer continuous updates, guiding travelers to make informed decisions, embodying the spirit of mālama during their stay.


As the resilient island prepares to unveil its renewed grace, let's foster a journey of compassionate and respectful travel, cherishing the vibrant heartbeat of Maui, an island echoing tales of resilience and unity.

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