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2023 Maui Wildfires

On August 8, the Lahaina fire in Maui, Hawai’i became the deadliest fire in the U.S. in over 100 years, fueled by high winds from an offshore storm. Tragically, over 110 people died, with the death toll expected to rise as search efforts continue over the coming weeks. The Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimate that 2,200 homes and businesses perished. Culturally significant sites were also lost in the fire, such as the Na’Aikane o Maui Cultural and Research Center, which housed irreplaceable artifacts, books, and maps of Native Hawaiian history and was a gathering place for the Native Hawaiian community. Preliminary calculations of the destruction caused by the Lahaina fire are estimated at nearly $6 billion. In addition to Lahaina, several other parts of Maui experienced separate wildfires.

Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF+) Response
Hawaiʻi supports a unique and rich culture brimming with arts, including feather work, kapa (bark cloth), lei making, wood and stone carving, and contemporary craft. We are aware of more than 100 craft artists who may have been affected by the wildfires.

CERF+ is hearing from craft artists affected by the fires, and we have already awarded emergency relief grants to craft artists from Lahaina. We anticipate many more applications in the coming weeks and months. 

CERF+ has connected with partners within the affected region including the Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and Arts, Hawai’i Arts Alliance, Hawai’i Craftsmen, and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. We also connected with Grantmakers in the Arts, Western State Arts Federation, and the National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response (NCAPER) and attended a call hosted by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy that offered initial information about the response efforts. We will continue attending regular response calls hosted by NCAPER in the coming weeks. To help the residents affected, we shared a list of organizations accepting donations that are offering initial and on the ground response through our newsletter and social media.

If you are a craft artist or artisan affected by the wildfires, please visit our recovery resources and submit an inquiry for our Emergency Relief program. We are here for you and can help guide you through the application process.

Disaster Recovery Resources for Artists

In addition to our Emergency Relief grant, CERF+’s Studio Protector also has resources to support artists as they begin to assess and re-enter their damaged studios, including:


The Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) provides confidential, multilingual crisis counseling and support for anyone in the U.S./territories experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters, including COVID-19. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 to reach a trained counselor 24/7, 365-days-a-year.

Please be safe, and let us know if we can do anything to help.

Finally, for those who are able to, please consider making a tax-deductible donation today. Your support directly supports craft artists in the aftermath of emergencies and disasters.