BAM Key Details

  • Maui wildfires have taken the lives of over 100 peopled and caused more than $1.3 billion in residential property damage 
  • The  REALTORS® Relief Foundation has allocated $1.5 million in disaster relief assistance to aid Hawaii REALTORS®.

Wildfires spread on the Hawaiian island of Maui and shook the lives of thousands of people when the flames spread, beginning on Tuesday, August 8th. 

The fires forced thousands of evacuations and wiped out electrical and transportation services. 

Property Damage and Casualties 

On Tuesday, Governor Josh Green confirmed the death toll rose to over 100 people. Thousands more are left without a home. The majority of the damage is in Lahaina, where almost 9,000 people live. 

Research data from CoreLogic estimates 3,088 single and multifamily residential properties were damaged or completely destroyed. The estimated reconstruction value of those properties is $1.3 billion.

The Cost of Disaster 

Officials say it could take years for Maui to recover from the damage. CoreLogic failed to include that numerous businesses were destroyed by the wildfires. The Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) and FEMA reported on Saturday that Maui County experienced $5.52 billion in ‘capital exposure,’ which is the estimated cost to rebuild following damage by the Lahaina Fire. FEMA put out a statement saying it is too early to determine the entire cost of rebuilding. 

A FEMA spokesperson stated, “The $5.5 (billion) figure being reported by some media outlets, and cited to the Pacific Disaster Center, is not a dollar amount from FEMA and does not reflect any damage estimations from our agency.”

The Lahaina Fire caused over 2,200 structures to be damaged or demolished, and approximately 2,170 acres were scorched, as reported by the PDC and FEMA. The unique architecture of the Lahaina properties, along with the exceptionally strong winds and lethal gusts, enabled the firestorm to destroy numerous buildings in the region.

The Rebuilding Process 

As Maui is still recovering a week after the wildfires struck, and the island has begun the process of reopening public schools and roads. Recovery efforts are focused on finding and identifying those who have died, along with finding shelter for those left homeless. 

Keller Williams agents from the Bay Area formed a massive group as they helped the victims of Maui, as reported by NBC. The group is desperately searching for one of their own agents, Allen Costantino, who is missing. 

Hilda Ramirez, CEO of Keller Williams Silicon City is asking every one of her agents to donate money if they can. Tabatha Luiza, an agent of Keller Williams was one of the first to respond. Luiza said, “I just received my commission check yesterday and I called HR of Keller Williams and I wanted to give it back.” 

Ramirez has continued to receive donations from agents since and is not surprised. 

The agents have also been networking on the islands trying to land temporary housing for victims whether that be Airbnb, ADUs, or other options. 

In addition, the REALTORS® Relief Foundation has allocated $1.5 million in disaster relief assistance to aid Hawaii REALTORS® in supporting the REALTORS® Association of Maui following the destructive fires. These funds will be accessible to the general public to provide service with housing payments for those affected by the disaster, as ongoing efforts focus on relief and recovery. For more information, or to donate to victims, visit REALTORS® Relief Foundation.

As real estate agents, whenever a natural disaster strikes, there are numerous ways you can help your community. Anything you can do to help protect innocent lives and properties can go a long way.