MAUI — Hawaii state officials announced that West Maui was back open nearly three months after the deadly wildfires.
New dramatic dashcam video shows the mayhem that unfolded on Maui on August 8 – the day of the wildfires. Those fires claimed the lives of 115 people and burned more than 2,000 acres of land, decimating the city of Lahaina.
Today, the healing process continues.
“We’re doing OK,” Ilihia Gionson said. “There’s a long road to recovery ahead.”
Gionson is with the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority. We wanted to catch up with him after the big announcement from Maui’s mayor stating that the island is back open for business.
“The people of Maui are inspiring in their resilience, their strength and their resolve,” Gionson said. “Not only to recover themselves, but to take care of others.”
But they need tourism. Before November 1, only certain parts of the island were open. Now everything except for the immediate burn area is back open.
“When we talk about reopening, we’re talking about the areas beyond Lahaina, the resort areas, and everything in between,” Gionson said.
Hawaiian officials say housing that’s been provided for those displaced will not be in jeopardy as a result of the reopening, but they need work.
“Maui accounts for a little over a tenth of the population of the state but well over half of the unemployment claims,” Gionson said.
That’s where tourism comes in. Maui, which is dependent on tourism dollars, needs visitors to go back to the island. Now that more has opened back up, there are more options for visitors.
“To all those who have sent their good intentions, their prayers, their thoughts, we can feel them all,” Gionson said. “And we look forward to welcoming you back to Maui and the Hawaiian islands real soon.”
For more information on Maui’s recovery, including travel tips for the island, click here.