Once Travis and Shaye Matthews, along with the daughter, Cami, made it to Maui, they rented a car to drive to their destination.
They never made it, and were instead stuck for eight hours on the highway, where they came dangerously close to one wildfire, that crossed the highway and burned several homes and a large hotel.
News Four spoke to Shaye Matthews by phone Wednesday. “Where we were was very, very close. It was intense seeing all of those structures on fire.”
Police eventually closed the highway and the Matthews were sent back to the airport, where they’ve been sleeping in their rental car for the past few days.
“The winds, they are unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in Oklahoma, and that’s saying something,” Shaye said. “The winds are so awful that they’re not able to bring in planes to do the water-dumping.”
The blaze was fueled by strong winds from Hurricane Dora.
Several people were forced to jump into the ocean to avoid the raging flames, and were later rescued by the US Coast Guard.
The Matthews could not get return flights until Friday, so they will continue to sleep in their rental car until then, as the airport in packed with fellow trapped tourists.
Shaye described the scene: “There are people sleeping on the baggage carousel, so it kind of [looks like] the end of days?”
The Matthews had planned to stay at a friend’s house in Maui. They will not likely get a refund on their flights, as wildfires are considered an act of God.
When asked if they will return to Maui in the future, Shaye said, “Maybe… Outside of hurricane season.”