Disaster Maui
A view of damage cause by wildfires in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii in this undated picture posted on Aug. 11, 2023. Office of the Governor Hawaii Josh Green/Handout via REUTERS

Businesses, charities and local agencies are starting to make donations as fire-ravaged Maui begins what will be a long and protracted recovery process.

The death toll from the Maui wildfires rose to 67 on Friday as search teams combed through the smoldering ruins of Lahaina even as firefighters gained the upper hand in the fight against most of the blazes.

The Lahaina fire that spread from the brush to town was 85% contained, Maui County said in a statement. Two other wildfires on the island were 80% and 50% contained.

Meanwhile, officials are sending in aid from San Diego and throughout Southern California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said that he had mobilized members of Urban Search & Rescue units from Riverside, Alameda and Sacramento counties.

“California stands with the people of Maui and all Hawaiians amid these horrific wildfires that have claimed lives and destroyed the historic town of Lahaina,” Newsom said. “Our state is sending resources to support our Pacific neighbors during their time of need.”

Regional CEO Sean Mahoney of the American Red Cross is one of several SoCal Region volunteers who left Friday to lend a hand in the Maui wildfire response effort. The region office oversees operations in San Diego and four other nearby counties.

“The Red Cross is on the ground, working around the clock to help those affected,” according to social media posts by the agency.

The Wells Fargo Foundation is committing $100,000 to Homestead Community Development Corporation, which develops affordable housing and economic opportunities on or near the trust lands of the native Hawaiian people. That’s in addition to $1 million it already offers annually in support of general Red Cross Cross disaster services.

“Our donation is part of our broader commitment to support Native and indigenous people, and we know the Homestead Community Development Corporation is making a concerted effort to reach Native Hawaiians as they look to rebuild their homes and lives after this devastation,” said Otis Rolley, the foundation’s head of philanthropy and community impact.

In addition, Wells Fargo will give customers the option of directing credit card rewards and ATM donations to the American Red Cross “Hawaii Wildfires” relief fund.

The Jewish Federation of San Diego made a call for donations to the Hawaii Wildfire Fund established by the larger Jewish Federations of North America. Money raised, according to the group, will support Maui, but also Honolulu community organizations expected to need resources to help those who fled to the city.

Diners also may head to Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern in Point Loma, where the owners will give a portion of the sales of each $14 Mai Tai to Hawaiian fire relief. They also will match donations “to try and raise as much money as possible,” they said.

Local GoFundMe.com efforts have been launched as well. Families in San Diego and Carlsbad have sought funds for loved ones who lost their homes in the disaster.

– Staff and wire reports