USC media: lahaina fires

The island community on Maui continues to rebuild after the wildfires in Lahaina devastated the historic Hawaiian town on August 8, 2023. The fires took the lives of over 100 people with many still missing. The community’s residents, animals and businesses are still trying to recover from the fires’ long-term aftermath. Many local organizations on Maui and the neighboring islands uphold their mission to provide resources and support to those affected by the tragedy.

Many respondents from the Maui Humane Society have rescued or provided medical assistance to animals and livestock since the night of the fire. Nikki Russell, Director of Community Outreach at MHS, said that law enforcement officers searched for injured animals and distributed food to droves of people who fled to the beach for safety with their pets immediately after the fires. Shortly after that night, the center received many animals with burns and their veterinarians tended to their wounds.

As of January 16, 2024, MHS brought in 786 animals from the Lahaina burn zone and helped 129 animals get adopted. One hundred and ninety one animals were returned to owners and 152 cats were transferred to the Lahaina Cat Sanctuary. For those that could not be saved, they provided cremations for their owners. Of the nearly 300 animals in their care, about two thirds of them are cats.

“We have sent cats over to Cat Cafe Maui where they are getting adopted into forever homes, so that’s lovely,” Russell said. “They have a lot of people who visit from off island, from the mainland. I know that some of the Lahaina kitties have moved to the mainland at this point.”

Read the full article here.