Maui mayor appoints new interim director of emergency management amid wildfire relief effort

The Mayor of Maui County announced the hiring of a new head of the Maui Emergency Management Agency on Friday.

Darryl Oliveira will become interim administrator for MEMA on Monday, according to a release from Maui County. The new hiring of Oliveira, a former administrator of the Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense Agency, comes in the wake of the resignation of the former MEMA administrator amid criticism of the emergency response to the recent destructive fires on Maui that have resulted in a death toll so far of over 110 people.

“We are honored to have Darryl Oliveira step forward to serve Maui County’s community in this unprecedented disaster,” Maui Mayor Richard Bissen said in a statement on the hiring. “His locally-led response amid storms, fires, flooding and lava events, along with his pulse on the Neighbor Island community, demonstrate invaluable experience and skill during challenging times.”

On the heels of the catastrophic fires, wildfire experts called for the state and its people to take steps to be more prepared for comparable situations.

“Over the last few years, the wildfire risk there has increased more quickly than then our ability to raise awareness throughout the population,” wildland fire consultant Pat Durland, who is also a board member at the Hawaiʻi Wildfire Management Organization, told The Hill.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.