Southwest Partners With Maui Animal Shelters To Evacuate Over 130 Animals From Aggressive Wildfires

Southwest, the second-largest carrier in Hawaii, collaborated with various Animal Shelters across Maui to evacuate shelter cats and dogs. The airline has partnered with Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, The Maui Humane Society, and Lucky Dog Animal Rescue to evacuate over 130 Shelter animals from the island.

A Shelter dog is evacuated from Maui.
© Southwest Airlines

Assisting Animal Shelters

On Friday, August 18th, the evacuation aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, delivered emergency pet supplies and hundreds of ‘Good Packs’ filled with survival and comfort supplies to the island. The aircraft left with 136 shelter animals in its cabin, headed for Portland, Oregon, joined by a licensed veterinarian.

Ninety-two of these animals were sent to the Oregon Humane Society, which was excited to welcome them to their new Behaviour and Rescue Center. The Portland Shelters will provide any follow-up veterinary care their new residents require.

Maui Wildfires Are Among The Most Destructive In US History

Marked as the deadliest in US history, the fires broke out at the beginning of August and have since spread across the island. Significantly affected is the historic town of Lahaina, where 2,200 buildings have been damaged or destroyed thanks to the fires, and water is undrinkable due to possible contaminants entering the supply thanks to the damage. As of September 2nd, the governor verified that 115 residents had died due to the fires and listed the unaccounted-for at 385. Due to potentially carcinogenic chemicals in the lingering ash, residents are advised against returning home to the towns of both Kula and Lahaina.

Transferring these animals to Oregon will help ensure that the island’s shelters have sufficient shelter and resources for animals hurt or displaced by the fires.

A Shelter Dog in a crate, ready to be flown to Oregon.
© SWA Media

Southwest Continues To Support Relief Efforts

The airline proclaims that a ‘robust plan’ is in place to support island residents during the evacuations. When the fires first broke out, it claims to have donated over $100,000 in cash and air travel to aid the relief effort. In partnership with the Hawaiian government, it has since provided complimentary transportation of firefighters, first responders, and any necessary supplies to the Island.

The airline also introduced a $19 interisland fare alongside a $1 pet fare to improve the accessibility of evacuations. Inter-island flights now operate at an increased frequency to meet the demand for evacuations. The airline continues to offer flexible rebooking policies for passengers due to travel to the island after the fires broke out. Finally, the airline has called for support from social media followers, directing them to The Maui Relief Fund, Food Bank, and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement.

Have you been affected by the fires in Maui? What do you think of Southwestern’s help in this situation? Let us know in the comments!

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Bella Pelster
Bella Pelster
I'm a Londoner with a huge passion for travel, history and sustainability. In my spare time I love reading novels (any genre, any author) and watching television and films (mostly the sopranos)!