- Thousands of tourists stranded on Maui are trying to escape the island.
- Hawaii officials are urging tourists to leave Maui as soon as possible so that limited resources can be made available to residents.
- Many major airlines offer change fee waivers or very low fares to ease the burden on Maui tourists.
- Honolulu’s Hawaii Convention Center is open to thousands of displaced tourists and residents.
Melissa McIntyre had no idea the west side of Maui was on fire until she saw smoke coming from her vacation home.
She and her cousin Jasmine McIntyre had just arrived on the island Monday from Connecticut for what is now called a “bottomed girls’ trip.” She was completely unaware of the fire hazard that was brewing just a few miles down the road as the nearby hurricane knocked out power and cell phone service due to strong winds from Dora.
“We made an instant decision to put everything together in 10 minutes,” Melissa McIntyre said in a telephone interview Tuesday from an overnight Jeep. “I didn’t know where to go because there was no cell phone service,” she said.
They drove to the north side of the island, but the hotel rooms were all booked. They then contacted the police and asked where they were going. They were led to the American Red Cross shelter in Kihei, but were evacuated again when the fire got too close.
“It’s like a movie you don’t want to be in,” said Jasmine McIntyre.
Tourists about to leave Maui
Emergency officials scrambled to make room for the island’s massive summer influx of tourists, while also dealing with dozens of deaths and the near-total destruction of parts of the island. ing.
More than 2.3 million people will visit Maui in 2021, according to the latest data available from. Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Acting Governor Sylvia Luke He urged visitors to leave the island as soon as possible “so that scarce resources can be prioritized for Maui residents who are in dire need of assistance.”
Maui’s Kahului Airport remains open as thousands of tourists flock to the terminal to catch flights from the island. Several major airlines, including American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines, allow travelers to rebook at no extra charge.
Hawaiian Airlines is adding flights from Maui and offering Main Cabin fares as low as $19.
The Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu was set up as a collective refuge not only for evacuated Maui residents, but also for tourists unable to return home.
Buses are also cooperating in evacuation.
Those planning a trip to Hawaii in the next few days, weeks or months are also asked to monitor the situation closely before departing.
(detail: When a dream vacation turns into an emergency)
“We have nothing to own”
Rob Howde and Natalia Howde of Federal Way, Wash., were stranded on Maui with only a rental car, a cell phone, and the clothes they were wearing.
They were in Lahaina in the middle of their 15th wedding anniversary vacation when the wildfires broke out.
“Actually, I had planned to hang around the Front Street area earlier in the day, as I always do, but after seeing most of the shops closed due to power outages due to high winds, I headed further south to shop. I decided to. “
They enjoyed the day in the Kahului area before heading back north to Lahaina due to heavy traffic.
“At that point, we learned about the fire,” he said. “Our experience was not as confusing and panicking as many others. We ended up with nothing.”
With nowhere to go using the highway, they decided to find a place to eat and wait for the fire to go out.
“After being stuck in traffic for four hours, we got off the highway, found a side street used by people in the same situation, and slept in the car overnight,” said Howde.
Melissa and Jasmine McIntyre left Maui and landed at an Airbnb on Oahu.
“[We] I slept well,” she said. “And eventually we’re going to figure out how to get back to Connecticut.”
(detail: Lahaina’s Historic Banyan Tree Burns in Wildfire)
Ensuring safety during vacation emergencies
The American Red Cross, which assists Hawaii authorities in providing food, shelter and care to tourists and residents, shared helpful tips on how to prepare for emergencies while on vacation.
– Before you travel, let your family and friends know when you’ll be traveling, where you’ll be staying, and what your plans are.
– Download the Red Cross Emergency App for access to the latest weather alerts, emergency notifications and shelter information.
– Make sure the group knows everyone’s mobile phone number and choose an out-of-area emergency contact in case the group gets separated and the phone lines get busy.
-Follow evacuation procedures carefully. Most emergency alerts are issued by local county authorities.
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