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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

For Immediate Release

Thursday, August 17, 2023
Contact: Public Information Officer Jason Chudy

ATF National Response Team Joins Hawaii Wildfire Inquiry

WASHINGTON – The Seattle Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives requested the assistance of ATF’s National Response Team to determine the origin and cause of a wildland fire that occurred on the island of Maui, Hawaii, on Aug. 8, 2023.

NRT members will arrive from the Honolulu Field Office and the Seattle Field Division today to assist the Maui County Fire Officials and other local partners. This NRT callout consists of one electrical engineer from the ATF Fire Research Laboratory, two Certified Fire Investigators (CFI) and a CFI candidate from the Honolulu Field Office, and one Arson and Explosives Group Supervisor from the Seattle Field Division.

“We were all devastated to learn of the loss of life and property on Maui from the Hawaii wildfires,” said ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson.  “We hope the deployment of National Response Team resources will allow the residents of Maui, and the state and nation as a whole, to know that we will do everything in our power to support our local counterparts in determining the origin and cause of the wildfires there, and hopefully bring some healing to the community.”

This is the 21st NRT activation this fiscal year and the 910th since the program began in 1978. The NRT is comprised of three regional components, organized geographically to cover the United States. The team provides an immediate and sustained nationwide response capability, typically deploying within 24 hours of notification, with state-of-the-art equipment and highly qualified ATF personnel specializing in fire origin and cause determination, to assist local and state law enforcement or fire service personnel.

Past NRT activations include such incidents as: the Grande Costa D’Avorio ship fire investigation in 2023, the Nashville “Christmas Day” bombing; more than 200 fire scenes resulting from civil unrest throughout the Midwest in 2020; a series of bombings in Austin, Texas, in 2018; and national-level tragedies such as the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon; the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta; the Oklahoma City bombing and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.