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Friday, August 11, 2023
August 11, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:31 PM :: 3917 Views

'All of Lahaina Gone': 55 Dead, 1,700 Buildings Destroyed

Maui, Oahu COVID Hospitalizations Up

For 1,000s of Lahaina Residents -- Next Stop Las Vegas?

SA: … The swift and deadly blaze that burned down close to all of Lahaina overnight Tuesday into Wednesday displaced a community with a 2020 population of about 12,000 and may have destroyed around 3,000 or more homes.

It likely will be many months — in some cases years — for residents whose homes were destroyed to rebuild and repopulate the devastated area.

Many of those displaced have found temporary living arrangements that include emergency shelters and staying with friends or family, though longer-term interim accommodations are needed….

(CLUE: Las Vegas.)

Robert J. Fenton Jr., a regional Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator who also participated in Thursday’s news conference on Maui, said it can take months to a year to just clear the debris from such disasters.

Green added that it could be weeks or months to restore electricity given the widespread loss of utility poles.

“It is going to take many years to rebuild Lahaina,” he said, also estimating the cost in the billions of dollars.

Some other factors affecting residents and business owners in their efforts to rebuild will be the insurance claims process, permitting and federal financial aid.

Fenton said federal funding is available now to people who have suffered fire losses on Maui. This assistance can include grants for temporary housing, such as rent assistance, or for home repairs. Low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses also are available. (More information about this assistance is at DisasterAssistance.gov, 1-800-621- 3362 and on the FEMA App.)

(CLUE: Las Vegas.)

Green estimated for CNN Thursday morning that 80% of Lahaina was gone. Bissen’s estimate later in the day was higher, saying, “It’s all gone.”

The most recent U.S. Census estimate for housing units in Lahaina was 4,049 in 2010.

Darryl Oliveira, a former Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator and fire chief who now heads risk management for Hilo-based construction and home building firm HPM Building Supply, said the magnitude of property destruction from the Maui fires appears closer to the aftermath of Hurricane Iniki on Kauai in 1992 and easily far greater than Kilauea’s lower east rift zone eruption on Hawaii island in 2018.

About 4,000 homes on Kauai were destroyed or sustained major damage by Iniki, according to FEMA.

The eruption in Puna five years ago claimed 612 residences…

One thing Kauai County did after Iniki was to make it easier to rebuild by waiving permitting fees, expediting permits and allowing wrecked homes that didn’t conform with one or more regulations to be rebuilt as they were before.

These special regulations that became known as the “Iniki Ordinances” facilitated rebuilding hurricane- damaged property….

(Nice dream but you already know how this will work out….)

According to Kauai County, the permit processing procedure returned to normal about three years after the disaster, though some of the special ordinances were kept in place for over two decades because some property owners had longtime challenges with rebuilding.

Lyle Tabata, a former Kauai County public works administrator who now runs construction firm B&T Contractors LLC, said doing something similar for Lahaina would be a big help.

“This will be instrumental in the rebuilding process to get through delays of the planning and building permit process,” he said in an email.

Oliveira also mentioned the Iniki Ordinances as something to do on Maui, and said HPM, which has four stores and lumberyards on Maui, is assessing how it can shift more resources to the island….

AP: ‘Nothing left’: Future unclear for Maui residents who lost it all in fire

FLASHBACK: HRS 171-93: Law Allows Swap of Lava-Covered Lots for State Property in Zone 3

read … Over 3,000 homes could need to be replaced on Maui | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

Lahaina Fire Sparked by Downed Power Lines?

CB: … He added that visitors staying at the hotels north of the historic town, in Kaanapali, were asked to shelter in place in order to help emergency vehicles get into Lahaina. Some 29 power poles had fallen across roads in the area, stifling access to the fire zone, Bissen said.

Those poles were still energized, he added.

It’s not clear whether Hawaiian Electric Co., which includes Maui Electric Co., had protocols in place to shut down power beforehand when a red flag warning for high winds is issued. Power shutoffs have become a standard tool in preventing wildfires during dangerous weather in places like California.

Representatives of the company did not respond Thursday to a request for comment, and the cause of Tuesday’s fires still hasn’t been determined….

CB: Robert Fenton, FEMA’s Region 9 administrator, likened the Maui fire to wildfires such as a 2018 blaze that destroyed much of the town of Paradise, California.  Cal Fire: ‘Ignited by a faulty electric transmission line’ 

SA: Power outage shutters hotels outside Lahaina | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

read … Maui’s Top Emergency Officials Were Off Island As Wildfires Hit Lahaina

Maui Kicking all Tourists off Island--Again

SA: … Jerry Gibson, president of the Hawai‘i Hotel Alliance, said communication is limited to mostly satellite phones, and all of the hotels in the region are still without full power.

“All of the hotels are in the process of evacuating their guests,” Gibson said. “Reservations also are on pause for a week at a time until we can figure out the logistics.“…

Gibson said diesel trucks were finally able to get into Kapalua on Thursday to fill up the tanks of electric generators.

“It’s just for emergencies. It’s not adequate to support a guest experience,” Gibson said. “It takes care of pumps and a certain amount of lighting and maybe an elevator.”…

There have been logistical difficulties in moving visitors off Maui, where on any given day in June the average daily visitor census was 71,790.

The Hawai’i Tourism Authority said that 14,000 people were moved off Maui on Wednesday, with another 14,500 expected to be evacuated Thursday.

Teri Orton, general manager of the Hawai‘i Convention Center, said a shelter opened in the facility Wednesday and officials were prepared to host as many as 4,000 people, but only 69 guests stayed overnight. She said about a dozen came on Thursday, but most obtained flights or left to stay with friends or in a hotel….

Gibson said many Maui visitors have left the island either to go home or to continue their vacations on another island. However, he said some have been accommodated at hotels in Wailea-Kihei or Kahului- Wailuku. Some 11 hotels are in the Wailea-Kihei region, which at 3,253 units is Maui’s second-largest hotel region, according to the DBEDT report. Maui’s third largest hotel region is Kahului-Wailuku with 5 hotels and 487 hotel units.

Ben Rafter, president and CEO of Springboard Hospitality, said, “Maui Beach Hotel and Maui Seaside are on the other side of the island and thus are operating as normal. Not surprisingly, both hotels will be full for the foreseeable future. We have set a fixed rate for kamaaina that are impacted by the fires and closed out wholesale channels.”

Gibson said Wailea, a luxury resort area far removed from the wildfires, also is full….

read … Power outage shutters hotels outside Lahaina | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

Maunakea observatories’ decommissioning is imminent

HTH: … During a Thursday meeting of the Board of the Maunakea Stewardship and Oversight Authority, Greg Chun, director of the University of Hawaii’s Center for Maunakea Stewardship, said work to remove the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory will begin within a few weeks, and the dismantling of the University of Hawaii’s teaching observatory Hoku Kea will begin in a few months….

The two telescopes are the first of five observatories slated to be removed in exchange for the eventual planned construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea. Hoku Kea has not been usable since 2010, when the observatory’s 36-inch telescope was found to be faulty. CSO ceased operations in 2015….

read … Maunakea observatories’ decommissioning is imminent

Maui price freeze in effect due to emergency proclamations

SA: … The state Office of Consumer Protection says the price freeze is in place due to the second and third emergency proclamations invoked on Wednesday in response to the Maui wildfires, effective until Aug. 31.

That means commodities — broadly defined under state law as any good or service necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of people — must be sold at pre-emergency price levels within the designated emergency area. The price freeze is only for the island of Maui….

Maui consumers should report any instances of potential price gouging — or having to pay increased prices for goods and services after Wednesday — while the price freeze was in effect.

Contact OCP by email at OCP@dcca.hawaii.gov or through the Consumer Resource Center at 808-587-4272. Complaints can also be filed online at consumercomplaint.hawaii.gov….

read … Maui price freeze in effect due to emergency proclamations

Lahaina Fire News: 

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