Responding to Hawaii’s Wildfires

August 14, 2023 • United States

Samaritan’s Purse is working with local church partners and emergency management to help in the wake of catastrophic loss.

U.S. Disaster Relief

UPDATE (Aug. 15):
Please see our latest story on the Maui wildfires, go to “Airlifting Relief Supplies.”

UPDATE (Aug. 14):
Sadly, the death toll continues to rise, reaching more than 95. The Maui fire is now the deadliest U.S. wildfire in over a century. Please pray for Samaritan’s Purse as we assess needs and prepare to bring tons of relief supplies in the coming days.

Our North American Ministries teams are on the ground in Hawaii spearheading the Samaritan’s Purse relief response following deadly wildfires that swept through Maui this week. Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains are also on the island to provide emotional support and spiritual comfort to residents reeling in the wake of so much loss.

Franklin Graham's Facebook post from 8-11 (see quote in story)

As soon as affected areas are accessible, volunteer teams will be helping homeowners in some of the most devastated communities sift through the ashes in search of valuables, photos, and mementos. In the coming days, we also plan to send tons of relief supplies to the island via our DC-8 aircraft.

Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham, in a Facebook post Aug. 11, asked people to pray.

“So many are in shock and devastated,” he said. “Pray for our teams, that we would be the hands and feet of our Lord Jesus Christ, and pray especially for those who have lost loved ones and their homes in this tragedy.”


On Tuesday, dry conditions on the Aloha State’s second largest island prompted fires–a manageable burn turned catastrophic on Wednesday as winds from Category 4 Hurricane Dora swept it into an inferno. Even from its path, trekking more than 1,000 miles south of Honolulu, the storm produced gusts of up to 70 miles per hour across the Islands. They caused Maui’s brushfires to burn out of control.

We are working with local emergency management, church partners, and local leaders as we assess needs in and around the town of Lahaina.

Tragically, the historic village, home to more than 13,000 people, was leveled and scores have died from the blaze. Many residents fled for the ocean as the fires spread. Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke declared a state of emergency for the Islands and the Hawaii National Guard has been mobilized.

As the fires were once again brought under control Wednesday night, residents were left mourning the loss of loved ones and of homes and businesses.

Samaritan’s Purse personnel build sifting screens that will help us find treasured items among the ashes for devastated homeowners.

Please pray for our teams as they work with our partners on the ground to provide relief in this time of great suffering. This is our second deployment to Hawaii in recent years; in 2018 we responded in the aftermath of catastrophic flooding on Kauai.

We will update this page with information on volunteer opportunities as it becomes available in coming days. You can also visit

U.S. Disaster Relief Samaritan's Purse mobilizes and equips thousands of disaster relief volunteers to provide emergency aid to U.S. victims of wildfires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. In the aftermath of major storms, we often stay behind to rebuild houses for people with nowhere else to turn for help.

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