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The devastating impact of Hawaii's wildfires on businesses



Hawaii's wildfires caused billions in economic damage, claimed lives and severely impacted businesses, especially in tourism, infrastructure and healthcare.

Key Highlights

AccuWeather estimates the economic toll of Hawaii's wildfires could range from $8 to $10 billion, covering diverse losses like property damage, job cuts and supply chain disruption.

Several factors led to the rapid spread of the fire, including increased vegetation from early rain, drying foliage and strong winds fueled by atmospheric pressure differences as well as Hurricane Dora.

The destruction wreaked havoc on tourism, Hawaii's major revenue source, while disruptions in communication, infrastructure and healthcare strained emergency response and recovery efforts.

Parts of the picturesque landscapes of Hawaii are gone after devastating wildfires swept through Maui. AccuWeather estimates that the economic cost of the devastating wildfires in Hawaii could range from $8 to $10 billion. Fueled by a perfect storm of meteorological conditions, these wildfires claimed dozens of lives and destroyed over 1,700 buildings. The wildfires obliterated communities, dealing businesses a crushing blow.

"As we’ve seen in several other recent natural disasters, several different factors seem to have conspired together in the same place at the same time to produce the heartbreaking wildfire tragedy in Maui," AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jon Porter said.

AccuWeather's comprehensive damage estimate considers various impacts of wildfires. The assessment encompasses insured and uninsured losses, property damages, job and wage losses, crop damage, infrastructure impairment, supply chain disruption, auxiliary business losses and flight disruptions. Additionally, costs related to evacuations, relocations, emergency management and government expenses for cleanup operations are factored in.

When wildfires like the one in Maui happen, AccuWeather For Business can help companies and communities by providing accurate and up-to-date weather information, including actionable insights like wind, humidity, and air quality that affect how wildfires behave. This information, such as AccuWeather’s Wildfire Proximity Notifications, can make all the difference when minutes matter, helping businesses make the best decisions to keep their people and property safe.

Learn more about AccuWeather's Wildfire Proximity Notifications

How did this disaster happen?

Several factors led to the rapid spread of the fire, including increased vegetation from the active rainy season, drying foliage from the recent drought, and strong winds fueled by atmospheric pressure differences between high pressure to the north and major Hurricane Dora well south.


Despite being 800 miles away, Hurricane Dora intensified these winds, fanning the flames at a dangerously rapid pace. Investigation continues into what caused the fire.

Infrastructure and Communication Disruptions

The catastrophic wildfires have not spared essential infrastructure, creating a cascading impact on businesses. Communication and power networks have been severely disrupted, leaving thousands without access to emergency services or the ability to reach their loved ones. The lack of communication channels has impeded emergency response efforts and hindered businesses' ability to coordinate recovery plans.

Healthcare Strain

Hospitals overwhelmed by burn patients and individuals affected by smoke inhalation have been grappling with an additional burden. This has further strained emergency response capabilities and impacted healthcare providers' ability to address other health needs. The health sector, a significant contributor to Hawaii's economy, is now facing resource allocation challenges and long-term care for those affected by the wildfires.

Impact on Tourism

Tourism has long been the lifeblood of Hawaii's economy, contributing to an estimated 75% of the island's revenue. However, with large parts of the island charred and decimated, the tourism industry faces unprecedented challenges.

Recovery of tourism will be a long process. Rebuilding infrastructure, restoring landscapes and regaining travelers' confidence will take months if not years. The loss of revenue from tourism will have cascading effects on related industries, including hospitality, food services, transportation and entertainment.

>>READ MORE: WILDFIRE SEASON: Be better prepared and stay safer

Be informed. Be better prepared when wildfires threaten with AccuWeather For Business

Early notification of a wildfire can help mitigate the risk to your people, business continuity, and profits. AccuWeather’s Wildfire Proximity Alerts are delivered as soon as the fire is detected and are backed by AccuWeather’s Superior Accuracy™. When a wildfire has sparked within 10 miles of your asset locations, you receive insights and notifications from our expert meteorologists. Your locations are monitored 24/7, 365 days a year and are available for one-on-one consultation for wildfire alerts, air quality alerts, high winds and more. 

Want to learn more about protecting your business and preparing for a wildfire? Contact our experts today.

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@accuweather Before and after videos captire the widespread devastation in Maui after wildfires ravaged the island. #maui #mauihawaii #hawaii #hawaiitiktok #beforeandafter #lahaina #wildfire #wildfires #foryoupage ♬ original sound - AccuWeather


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