Maui Fire Recovery

Project Overview

FieldHaven spent 75 days on Maui working diligently to coordinate the rescue and recovery of cats from the Lahaina fire. From early September to mid-November 2023, executive director Joy Smith and TNR Program Manager Jen Paul partnered with Maui Humane Society, Neighborhood Cats, and UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine to lead rescue and recovery efforts.

During the first two weeks of the mission, we spent nights in the fire zone, assessing the population of cats, determining their locations, and setting up feeding stations to nourish the cats until they could be rescued. We also did some initial trapping before moving onto to the next part of our mission.

We coordinated the setup of the MHS Annex Recovery Center to house and recover fire after they were rescued in the fire zone. Using the experience we have with fire cats, we implemented FieldHaven’s best practices for the special needs of rescued fire cats.

The final count of cats being rescued from the fire zone will be north of 500. At the writing of this, trapping is still in progress. During our time on Maui, we cared for over 200 cats in recovery. Local staff and volunteers were trained by Jen and Joy, leaving the ongoing recovery process in good hands and hearts. Former FieldHaven staff member Jeanie Schumacher is still part of the mission, coordinating reunification efforts.


September 2023


In progress


Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii



Why isn't Maui Humane Society providing supplies?

A few people have been asking why we put together a wishlist and are asking for donations when Maui Humane Society has “received millions in donations.” As much as we’d like to think the “millions” they have is an endless bucket of cash, it’s not: this project is literally costing millions of dollars. FieldHaven made a commitment to provide mutual aide to Maui Humane Society because this is a ginormous project that is requiring 1000s upon 1000s of hours in staff and volunteers time and expertise to manage and conduct. It will not be over this month or next month and not even this year.


Maui Humane Society is supporting FieldHaven’s presence here. Mutual aide typically provides reimbursement for expenses, which in the case of this project is extremely expensive. It does not cover our salaries. FieldHaven is not a large organization in terms of funding, but we are enormous in skill, commitment and energy. We want to be here for the long haul, butut we can’t do it without the help of volunteers and supporters.

Why is FieldHaven in Maui when there so much to be done at home?

There are only two staff members here in Maui. Disaster response is part of our mission and is mutual aide. If the disaster were in our neighborhood, we would be accepting all sorts of help from many agencies outside our area. Our main goal is to assist felines and all nine of their lives.

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