Deadly fires have already claimed the lives of six on Hawaii’s Maui island and continue to burn, leaving officials no choice but to declare a state of emergency.
In a press conference Wednesday, County of Maui Mayor, Richard T. Bissen Jr. told the media, “We have had 13 evacuations from different neighborhoods and towns, 16 road closures, and we’ve opened five shelters.”
Three fires burn across the island leaving all who are stuck on it displaced or stranded. Sarah Boyd is a Bothell resident. She left this past weekend for the island to vacation with her family at their timeshare. On Tuesday morning, Boyd left her house to pick up her husband and son from the airport, not knowing that they wouldn’t be making it back.
Boyd told us she knew there was a fire, but thought, “It was small enough…we would be able to get back home going the normal way.” But that wasn’t the case. A closure just miles from their timeshare forced the family to make a tough split-second decision.
“We were going to stay there for hours and see if we could get through or if we were going to turn back around to where the airport is where there is power and food and bathrooms. So, that’s what we did,” said Boyd.
The family made their way into a Walmart parking lot, making the best of their situation.
“We spent the night here in our lovely minivan …myself, my husband, and my son…bought pillows and blankets and just hunkered down,” said Boyd.
The split family of three wasn’t the only one sleeping in the parking lot last night. Sarah sent our newsroom a picture she took of other families sleeping outside of the luggage-filled vehicles.
With flights continuing to make their way to Maui, Sarah urges others to reconsider coming to the island, at least for right now.
Part of the state of emergency order declared on Wednesday discourages non-essential air travel to Maui. Alaska Airlines told us, “We have not canceled any Maui flight and don’t plan to. We plan to operate all flights into Maui so we can depart full planes with guests needing to evacuate the island.”
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