Aug. 16, 2023: In the aftermath of devastating wildfires that claimed the lives of a still unknown number of people on Maui, we mourn with our supporters and colleagues in Hawai'i. As with most disasters, the loss of human life and the financial and other damages incurred by individuals, governments, businesses and institutions are being reported in painful, sobering detail. While animal casualties are difficult to measure, it’s likely the toll is significant.

Thankfully, local organizations such as the Maui Humane Society and Hawai'i Veterinary Medical Association are working with others to find animal survivors and give them a fighting chance. We’re sending pet food and crates to the Maui Humane Society, and we’re discussing other options for support with local organizations.

Aug. 12, 2023: We’re providing urgent and critical supplies to Maui Humane Society and are in conversation with local organizations to assess how else we can help. Our hearts go out to everyone in Maui impacted by these devastating wildfires. Please stay tuned for updates as we receive them.

What should I do to prepare for wildfires in my area?

Make a disaster plan for your pets (large and small) now. The HSUS offers tips on preparing a disaster kit, finding a safe place to evacuate with your pets and sheltering in place. Remember: If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for your pets.

What is the HSUS doing to help?

We have reached out to groups in the impacted area to assess their needs and avail our rescue team to assist if requested. We are providing initial funding to Maui Humane Society for needed supplies.

My local shelter can take animals. How can we help?

We encourage you to reach out to local shelters in threatened areas to ask how you can help. If you're interested in becoming a Shelter and Rescue Partner for the HSUS in the future, please visit: Shelter and Rescue Partners

I need help evacuating pets from my residence/shelter. Where do I start?

If you need assistance evacuating your residence/shelter, please contact your local emergency manager. 

I'm worried about my horses/large animals as the fire spreads. Where do I start?

We emphasize the importance of making a disaster preparedness plan for all animals in your care, horses and farm animals included. Individuals looking for assistance should call the county in which they are located and ask if they have an emergency shelter or location for animals. It is also advisable to call local animal control to flag the property so it is on the radar of emergency officials for assistance and make all animals have access to fresh water.

  • Information specific to Hawai'i: Hawai'i Emergency Management Agency
  • Information specific to Maui: Maui Emergency Management Agency
  • If you have a horse or large animal at a boarding facility or barn, ensure the locks to the barn doors are operational and easily able to be opened in the event of an emergency.
  • Have trailers lined up and ensure that you have enough vehicles to move the number of horses at your barn/facility.
  • In extreme danger with limited time, let your horse or large animal into a larger enclosed area that has been tamped down and is out of the line of fire. Ensure the safety of first response personnel by not allowing the horses to run free.
  • If you are evacuating, let your large animals out into a paddock or corral, cut off their access to return to a barn or stall (as they will naturally retreat back to where they are fed or cared for, even if the structure is on fire). Consider using non-toxic spray paint to spray paint your phone number on their body for easy reunification purposes.

How can I help wildlife?

Do everything you can to allow fleeing animals to pass through your property. Wild animals are resilient and many will have the ability to escape the flames.

If you see animals that are injured or clearly compromised, call your local animal control or wildlife rehabber. Signs that a wild animal may be in need of intervention include compromised breathing or unstable walking, which could be due to burned pads, soles or hooves.

I can get to Hawai'i. How can I help?

People who are part of the HSUS disaster response team will be emailed directly if we deploy and additional help is needed.

Beyond those trained responders, it is imperative that no one go to the affected areas on their own or self-deploy.

The HSUS won’t be able to use volunteers who haven’t gone through official training, and there are already a lot of trained volunteers near the impacted region who are on standby to help when called. If people who self-deploy come, and get stranded, emergency response attention must then add them to the potentially long list of rescues, and divert attention away from the existing rescue work. It is simply too dangerous and may result in lost/stray animals not going through the official systems that can ensure they are reunited with owners.

If you are not a trained volunteer but would like to become one, you can learn more about the requirements and fill out an application: Volunteer with our Animal Rescue Team

I heard that a particular city or area needs help. Can you help?

In order for an out-of-state agency to assist in a federal disaster area, there has to be an official request from the appropriate agency or emergency official. Hawai'i has a protocol for how to make these requests during a disaster, and if a group or agency is in need of help, we ask that they contact their local emergency officials, who—if assistance is needed—will get the request to us. These protocols are in place to ensure there is no chaos created by outside groups coming in unrequested, and to ensure the assistance is sent to where it is needed most.

I need to seek shelter with my pets. Where can I go?

Please check with your local emergency manager.

I have/know of an animal or a friend or family member who needs rescue—what do I do?

If you need rescue, or have friends, family or animals in an impacted area and in need of rescue, call 911. You can also contact your local emergency manager.

I want to donate supplies for local animal shelters. What should I send?

The best thing for out-of-state folks to do at this point is to donate money and supplies to impacted shelters and those that are taking in animals. Please check with those organizations before sending supplies to make sure what you want to send is needed and helpful at this time; many shelters will have lists of their top needs on their websites.