December 2, 2023

Travel Hawaii

It's Your Travel Hawaii

What To Know If You’re Visiting Hawaii As Wildfires Rage On


As large wildfires—that have claimed 36 lives so far and destroyed at least 270 buildings—continue to burn throughout Maui and Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, around 11,000 visitors to the state have been flown out of Maui; here’s what to know if you have upcoming plans to travel to the state.

Key Facts

Though there are fires on Maui and Hawaii, Maui is experiencing the most damage and visitors and residents are being evacuated there; travel is not discouraged to the Big Island, but visitors are encouraged to reach out to their hotels and airlines for updates.

Acting Gov. Sylvia Luke extended the emergency proclamation to all counties in the state and formally discouraged nonessential travel to Maui on Wednesday so the state “can prioritize our scarce resources for Maui residents who desperately need assistance”; she also encouraged visitors in West Maui to depart the island as soon as they could safely.

Hawaiian Airlines announced Wednesday it was adding extra flights “to focus on bringing guests out of Maui” and was selling seats for $19, in addition to coordinating with the government to “transport first responders, equipment and supplies to Maui.”

CNN reported that United Airlines had canceled inbound flights to Maui, but were still operating outbound flights.

Most major airlines—including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines—are offering travel waivers for passengers with plans to fly to Maui allowing them to cancel without penalty and have added restrictions for inbound travelers.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority is encouraging travelers with plans to visit West Maui in the coming weeks “to consider rescheduling their travel plans for a later time,” and visitors with plans to stay in other parts of Maui to “contact their hotels for updated information and how their travel plans may be affected.”

As of Wednesday, the Hawaii Tourism Authority said travel to Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, and other parts of Hawaiʻi Island are not affected at this time.

Surprising Fact

Because of the fires, some travelers arrived in Maui with no lodging. The Hawaii Convention Center is hosting any displaced Maui visitors and residents who are in need of refuge. Staff are supplying travel assistance, food, water, shelter and medical support services.

Big Number

1,500. That’s how many more tourists were expected to leave Thursday, the New York Times reported. The County of Maui was facilitating buses Wednesday night and Thursday morning to help travelers get to the airport, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

Key Background

Hurricane Dora, a Category 4 hurricane that formed off of Mexico’s western Pacific coast last week, brought winds to Hawaii as high as 130 mph. As of Wednesday night, more than 2,000 acres had burned in the fires. In May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a near-or above-normal hurricane season in the central Pacific this year, with four to seven tropical cyclones expected. So far, Dora and Hurricane Calvin, which brought flooding and some wind damage to Hawaii’s Big Island last month, have been the most impactful this season.

Further Reading

Honolulu Star-AdvertiserConfirmed deaths from Maui wildfires climb to 36, county officials sayMORE FROM FORBESSix Dead In Hawaii As Hurricane Winds Spur Wildfires Across MauiKHON2Dora still category 4 hurricane as winds batter Hawaii