Hawai'i State News

Officials clarify timeline and process for Lahaina wildfire cause, origin report

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Vacant field south of Lahaina Intermediate School that is charred following the Aug. 8 Lahaina wildfire. (File photo by Wendy Osher/Maui Now)

Officials with the Maui Fire Department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded Wednesday to media inquiries about the timeline and process for releasing information about the cause and origin of the deadly Aug. 8, 2023, Lahaina wildfire.

“County of Maui Department of Fire and Public Safety met with ATF the last week of June to review details of the ATF report on cause and origin, which is more than 400 pages,” said Maui Fire Chief Brad Ventura in a statement. “An article published June 28 alleged that the ATF investigation was completed and that MFD was holding the report for an unknown amount of time.”

Ventura said that is inaccurate.


He clarified that the ATF is still completing its report. Once the agency formats its report, the finalized product will be sent to the Maui Fire Department and it will be added as an appendix to the Fire Department’s cause and origin report.

“While our department is tasked with investigating every fire, we utilize ATF to assist with more complex, scientific fire analysis,” Ventura added. “ATF has not given a timeline for its finalized report. However, we recognize the importance of sharing this information with the public and plan to release our cause and origin report as soon as we receive and integrate ATF’s findings.”

ATF spokesman Jason Chudy said Wednesday that his recent comments in a June 28 Civil Beat article were comprised with information that he had at that time.


“After a weeklong review with the County of Maui Department of Fire and Public Safety, there was additional formatting required by ATF to complete our report,” said Chudy. “ATF is diligently working to finalize our report, and we appreciate everyone’s patience as we finish this comprehensive, significant and impartial investigation.”

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