U.S. Army Pacific continues defense support efforts in Hawaii

By U.S. Army Public AffairsAugust 18, 2023

WASHINGTON — U.S. Army Pacific, and the Hawaii National Guard continue their fully integrated response to the recent wildfires. With the stand-up of Joint Task Force 50 (JTF-50) under the command of dual-status commander Brig. Gen Stephen Logan, the distinction between the active-duty and National Guard forces begins to become less apparent as the military headquarters assumes command and control responsibilities for military support to civilian authorities.

There are currently 691 DoD personnel in Maui who are actively engaged in planning, synchronizing, and coordinating support to FEMA and the State of Hawaii.

Two CH-47 Chinook helicopters with Bambi buckets from the Hawaii National Guard are being used to conduct fire suppression support. The fire in the Pulehu/Kīhei area is 100% contained, the fire in Lahaina is 85% contained, and the fire in the area of Kula is 75% contained. According to Maui County, 2,170 acres burned in the vicinity of Lahaina and 678 acres burned in vicinity of Kula.

As of Aug. 16, 2023, according to state officials, 106 fatalities were reported, and nearly 2,250 customers do not have power. Six shelters are open in Maui County, and the state of Hawaii has secured more than 400 hotel rooms and 1,400 units from Airbnb.

The JTF-50 joint operations center at the Haggai complex in Maui is fully Operational.

Search and rescue teams are conducting wide-search-area activities with CBRNE enhanced response force packages and teams from the FBI. JTF-50 continues to maintain traffic-control points and conduct 24-hour security operations in Lahaina in coordination with local law enforcement, the HIARNG and neighboring sheriff departments.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has moved 32 FEMA generators to Maui, and 61 generators are staged at Oahu.

Possible courses of action for initial debris removal have been briefed to FEMA, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense has approved the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency to assign six forensic anthropologists to assist in gathering and identifying human remains.

Future anticipated actions include debris removal, engineer assessments, damage assessments (including port facilities) and rebuilding efforts.

For more information, please contact Ms. Katie Nelson, USARPAC Media Operations, at 808-786-0300.