Via: Daily Mail:
Maui’s top emergency officials were on another island when the wildfires begun, it emerged on Wednesday – and did not join a call about the response until five hours after the blazes broke out.
Dozens of senior bureaucrats were gathering on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu, on August 8 for the annual meeting of FEMA coordinators in the Pacific region.
The first fire on Maui, the Upcounty Fire, broke out in the early hours of August 8.
Around 6:40am on that day, a school near Lahaina was evacuated, but an emergency response call was not held until nearly five hours later, at 11am.
The fire was declared ‘contained’ by 9am, CNN reported.
Yet by 3:30pm the fire had spread so significantly around Lahaina that an evacuation order was given for the town, and Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke, Hawaii’s acting governor, activated Hawaii’s national guard.