News Releases

USACE officially begins Lahaina wildfire debris removal

Published Jan. 17, 2024

HONOLULU — In Lahaina, Maui, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officially began the process Wednesday of transporting wildfire debris from residential properties to a Temporary Debris Storage site in West Maui.

Native Hawaiian cultural advisors based in Maui are working alongside debris removal teams, taking the lead in efforts to protect the cultural heritage of Hawai‘i and its Native Hawaiian people throughout the process.

The coordinated fire debris removal effort includes FEMA, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, Maui County, the EPA and USACE.

Phase 1 of the debris removal mission, which has included months of site assessments, hazardous household material removal, and bulk asbestos material removal, is nearly complete.

During Phase 2, the debris is dampened, wrapped in thick industrial plastic, and sealed with an adhesive prior to transport to the Temporary Debris Storage (TDS) site. This “burrito wrapping” method prevents debris and ash from becoming airborne during transport to the TDS site.

“We are dedicated to minimizing the dust produced from debris removal operations,” said Col. Jess Curry, recovery field office commander for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “Our contractors are using dust-reduction methods that have been refined through the many lessons-learned during successfully executed debris removal events from the past few years.”

The company contracted by USACE to perform the debris removal operation, Environmental Chemical Corporation, has also completed an air monitoring and surveillance plan that has been accepted by Hawaii Department of Health.


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Release no. 24-012