December 5, 2023

The devastating and lethal wildfires in Maui have upended the lives of locals, together with the marriage professionals who relied on Hawaiians and vacationers alike turning to the Central Pacific island to have fun their love.

Tad Craig, a marriage photographer who has lived in Maui, Hawaii, since 1993, is likely one of the many wedding ceremony distributors affected by the wildfire that began in Lahaina on Tuesday, Aug. 8. The fires have taken the lives of 99 individuals as of Tuesday morning and prompted billions of {dollars} of injury.

“The instant future is wanting very bleak for the individuals of the islands and our wedding ceremony business. I am scared,” Craig, who lives on Maui’s north shore on the opposite facet of the island, wrote in an e-mail to FOX Enterprise.


Craig stated he had a photograph shoot scheduled on the day the wildfire began on Maui’s west facet. 

He recalled passing the north facet of the Lahaina Bypass at round 3 p.m. and receiving a wildfire warning on his telephone about half-hour later.

Banyan bushes develop in Lahaina, Maui, and the remainder of the Hawaiian island. This photograph exhibits a banyan tree park in Lahaina on Feb. 19, 2020. (Smith Assortment/Gado/Getty Pictures / Getty Pictures)

“Being a professional, I met with my shoppers and did my shoot, which really went actually nice,” he wrote.

Craig stated he realized how dangerous the wildfire was after he concluded his photograph shoot. 

Roads had been closed, and cellphone connectivity was misplaced. It reportedly took him over a day to get again to his household as he and plenty of others scrambled to evacuate because the blaze unfold.

­In a public service announcement on Sunday, Aug. 13, Hawaii Gov. Josh Inexperienced stated the Lahaina wildfire claimed not less than 93 lives, destroyed greater than 2,700 constructions and prompted $5.6 billion in harm, in keeping with estimates on the time.

Hawaii Governor Josh Green

On Aug. 10, 2023, Hawaii Gov. Josh Inexperienced is proven talking throughout a press convention in regards to the damaging wildfire in Maui’s historic Lahaina and Wailuku areas. (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP through Getty Pictures / Getty Pictures)

The Maui Police Division up to date the confirmed demise toll to 99 on Monday, Aug. 14, as Fox Information Digital has reported.

“At this level every little thing is on lockdown,” Craig wrote to FOX Enterprise. “The tourism economic system that helps us is coming to a screeching halt and naturally I’m extraordinarily anxious about our future and naturally my future.”

To this point, Craig has acquired three cancellations from images shoppers — and he stated he is anticipating many extra within the coming weeks and months.


Whereas many wedding ceremony distributors have an “act of God” clause that protects companies from having to difficulty refunds in circumstances of unanticipated pure disasters and different catastrophic occasions, Craig stated he suspects he’ll must return deposits to shoppers who can’t transfer ahead with their wedding ceremony plans.

Maui fire

Destroyed buildings and houses are pictured within the aftermath of a wildfire in Lahaina, western Maui, Hawaii, on Aug. 11, 2023. Harm hovering into the billions of {dollars} has occurred. (PAULA RAMON/AFP through Getty Pictures / Getty Pictures)

Underneath regular circumstances, Craig’s images enterprise has a non-refundable coverage. Some exceptions are allowed, nonetheless, he advised FOX Enterprise.

Craig, who turned an expert photographer in 1999, stated companies on Maui’s west facet have suffered losses from the wildfires, together with tour companies which have misplaced workplaces and boats that {couples} appreciated to frequent.

“For these individuals who have misplaced family members and misplaced their homes and their livelihoods, they’re those which can be most impacted by this horror present,” he wrote in an e-mail. “I really feel so extremely dangerous for them and what they have to be going via.”

Authorities are nonetheless battling wildfires which have unfold to different areas, that are all at completely different phases of containment, in keeping with a civic alert issued by the County of Maui on Sunday.

The information alert said that the Lahaina wildfire was contained by 85% and encompassed an estimated 2,170 acres.


The wildfire in Kula, a Census-designated place close to the western-facing slopes of Haleakalā volcano, which is often known as the upcountry, was contained by 60% with an affect on roughly 678 acres, in keeping with county information.

Hawaii wildfires

A wildfire burns in Kihei, Hawaii, late Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023. 1000’s of residents raced to flee houses on Maui as blazes swept throughout the island, destroying components of a centuries-old city in one of many deadliest U.S. wildfires in recent times. (AP Photograph/Ty O’Neil / AP Pictures)

Kihei, one other Census-designated place on Maui’s south facet, had a wildfire that was declared 100% contained (however not extinguished) — whereas the wildfires within the Puʻukoliʻi Reservoir and Kaanapali, a Census-designated place on Maui’s western shore, had been fully extinguished, in keeping with the civic alert.

“Because the fires, there was an enormous outpouring of assist domestically and nationwide, however that is going to take years to recuperate from,” Craig wrote in his e-mail to FOX Enterprise.

Craig famous that The Maui Aids Basis, an area well being nonprofit, is working with the county to gather vital provides for individuals who misplaced their houses.

“For these individuals who have misplaced family members and misplaced their homes and their livelihoods, they’re those which can be most impacted by this horror present.”

– Tad Craig

The group arrange a Maui Fireplace Aid Want Listing on Amazon, which incorporates over-the-counter drugs, hygiene merchandise, gasoline, batteries, non-perishable meals, sleeping luggage, garments, child care objects and extra.


Wedding ceremony professionals on different components of the island who haven’t been immediately affected by the wildfires imagine the business’s future appears bleak.

Klaus Bandisch, proprietor of the Simply Maui Weddings planning service in Wailea, a Census-designated positioned on Maui’s south facet, wrote that he thinks weddings and occasions can be placed on an extended pause within the areas the place the wildfires are occurring.

Hawaii fire

Burnt vehicles parked amid a destroyed neighborhood within the aftermath of a wildfire in Lahaina, western Maui, Hawaii, on Aug. 11, 2023. Brushfires on Maui, fueled by excessive winds from Hurricane Dora passing to the south of Hawaii, broke out on Aug. 8.  (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP through Getty Pictures / Getty Pictures)

“The infrastructure can be very dangerous for a very long time,” he wrote in an e-mail to FOX Enterprise.  

Bandisch shared that he has 11 weddings scheduled all through the rest of August, however the wildfires may change that quantity within the coming days.

Marriage information revealed by the State of Hawaii’s Division of Well being estimates {that a} whole of 164,909 marriages have taken place within the Aloha State from December 2013 to June 2023. 

Maui is the second hottest Hawaiian island for marriages, with 50,506 marriages reportedly having taken place within the 115-month span, in keeping with the preliminary authorities document. 

On common, the island hosts about 5,338 marriages per yr.

It’s not instantly clear what number of of these marriages resulted in a proper wedding ceremony ceremony and reception.


HappyLaulea, a Honolulu-based wedding ceremony jewellery retailer, stories that Maui hosts about 4,659 weddings annually, in keeping with the model’s Hawaii Wedding ceremony Statistics webpage.

Maui and the remainder of Hawaii are additionally locations that {couples} select for romantic getaways, together with engagement celebrations, elopements, vow renewals, honeymoons, anniversaries and non-marital holidays.

The precise reason for the preliminary wildfire in Maui will not be identified, however the governor’s workplace has notified the general public that it’s possible associated to Hurricane Dora, which approached the state on Tuesday, Aug. 8, in keeping with a statewide emergency proclamation.

Over 1,000 persons are nonetheless unaccounted for, in keeping with Maui Police Division estimates. 

The governor’s workplace introduced that the federal authorities is providing locals help with small enterprise administration and financial damage catastrophe loans. 

Moreover, the State of Hawaii is providing unemployment advantages to those that have misplaced work as a result of wildfires. 

On a county degree, six shelters are open with a cumulative occupancy that may home 1,101 individuals and important provides are being distributed on the Lahaina Gateway Heart.


Some 5,000 prospects in Oluwalu, Lahaina, Kaanapali and Napili reside with out energy.

The inhabitants of Maui County is roughly 164,351, in keeping with inhabitants estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 2022, round 2.9 million guests spent about $5.69 billion in Maui, in keeping with a report revealed by Hawaii’s Division of Enterprise, Financial Improvement & Tourism.