Document Your Cane Smoke Complaints Here

HC&S claims there are hardly any complaints when they re-apply for their open air burning permit.  We need to document each complaint.

Note: You MUST put in a location (though a specific address is not required) and click the LOCATE button in order to make the “Next” button work.

HC&S is given a yearly open field burn permit (See 2012 Permit here), by the State Department of Health (DOH) Clean Air Branch. The 2012 Agricultural Burning Permit covered 15,439 acres (roughly half of sugar cane production) from March 20th through October 10th Delays in burning caused HC&S to continue burning into December – unfortunately during a week of vog. Supposedly there is no burning in December, January and February.

If you are in smoke at ground level report the: day, time, and location to the Dept of Health, Clean Air Branch (DOH-CAB), and to specifically ask to register a complaint. Please be sure to include: Your name & address, date, time, location of smoke.

Emailing to all will send a copy to us and we’ll remove your personal info (except initials) and post it here to make sure that DOH counts ALL the complaints:

If you experienced health effects please fill out the Maui Tomorrow Cane Burning Health Survey

What photos should you send?  Not the one labeled “Good Burn”.  Only ones showing smoke at ground level

Blake Shiigi, DOH-CAB Environmental Health Specialist (Maui) 808 984-8234

Lisa Young, DOH-CAB Environmental Health Specialist (Oahu)

Gary Gill, Deputy Director of Environmental Health (Oahu)

Additionally, it would be good to cc letters or messages to HC&S and the EPA:

Kerry Drake, EPA Region 9 Air Quality Specialist (San Francisco)
Drake.kerry@ (or try )

Rick Volner, Jr., HC&S General Plantation Manager
808 877-6961

To alert the Mayor’s Office that you are contacting these agencies, you may cc:
Rob Parsons, Maui County Environmental Coordinator

To include all nine County Council members:

You may also wish to contact Governor Abercrombie who is ultimately responsible for whether the Hawai’i State Department of Health adequately protects our lungs from cane smoke.  You may wish to ask him why the rules governing no-burn days are so vague and how rules that are only visual can be used when DOH allows HC&S to start burning in the dark at 3am.  You may also wish to ask him why DOH gives so many exceptions to the requirement that HC&S not allow smoke to enter our homes, business, parks, etc.

The Honorable Neil Abercrombie
Governor, State of Hawai’i
Executive Chambers, ?State Capitol
Honolulu, Hawai’i  96813

Phone: 808-586-0034
Fax: 808-586-0006

You can fax the Governor your request for better and more accountable DOH performance by using this free online fax company:



  • concerned citizen

    You have a tech problem here. The “next step” link is useless.

    • Stop Cane Burning

      You have to put in a location and click “Locate” button first.

      Sorry it is so klutzy. The company contracted to do the phone app (which this is) is somewhat inflexible.

      • Chris Profio

        I’m having the same difficulty getting to the “Next Step” after “Locate” – it’s not working.

        • Stop Cane Burning

          CitySource updated the app. Now you have to press “Locate Me”. Then the “Next Step” button should go live. Some people have their GPS turned off in their computer and need to type in their address first.

  • Karl Mutch


    Does anyone know if there is an Air Quality Plan for Maui ?

    These are mandated by the clear Air Act.


  • Nikki Potter

    Please consider this my request to join your action organization. I have never in my life experience something like this. In the 21st century, we should be beyond burning fields! I will make my time available to your organization for signature collection, political campaigning, etc. Thank you.

    • Stop Cane Burning

      I’ll add you to the email list so you’ll get notices of any actions we take. (We don’t send very many emails – just when it is really important)

      • zoe wells

        I am determined to help stop this cane burning epidemic. everyone i know is ill from the smoke, including myself, its outragious how it is allowed here of all places. Please let me know if there is anything i can do to help. Until then I will file complaints. Thanks

  • Gene Richardson

    WTF 9/14/13 smoke in my house. This has been going on for 6 days in a row. They have been burning daily for 5 months. I’m Coughing and have been told by my Doctor I have COPD. I never had a respitory problem in my life until I moved to N.Kihei.
    I will have to move because cane burning smoke is always in my house while I sleep at night. This really sucks. At the next demonstration masks should be used to give a visual to the problem. Perhaps a consistant PSA with people wearing them will help stop the burn.

  • Valerie Sapourn

    Aloha- This practice of putting profits before public health MUST STOP. We all need to rise up and do what is right for the citizens and keiki of Maui. I wish we had a class action lawsuit to stop this horrible practice. My children were coughing all morning at their school, the Montessori School of Makawao. There was zero wind and the smoke was just blanketing the entire campus and filling the classrooms. Smoking in public buildings is illegal in Hawaii and elsewhere because smoke is dangerous and causes cancer and other respiratory health problems. Why on Earth is this legal ? $$$$$$ We need to sue sue sue the sugar company to make them stop since the only thing they care about is $$$ not people.

  • Harriet Collopy

    I entered my report of a terrible asthma flare up yesterday morning, April 19th and the same thing happened today from a cane burn west of Leolani Place. I wasn’t yet recovered from yesterday’s episode of coughing and intense congestion when the second burn started this morning, April 20th. More coughing and intense congestion and difficulty breathing as a result of the cane burning. I know the sugar cane industry on Maui knows how to harvest the sugar cane without
    burning. Please consider doing this harvesting in ALL of the sugar cane fields.

    This feels like an assault on my lungs already reeling from asthma. How many people need to die of lung disease before our complaints are taken seriously?

    Respectfully submitted,

    Harriet Collopy

  • alexandria Siwecki

    Over the past couple of weeks March 20, 2013 till april 4, 2013 I have had extremely hard time breathing.I have intense headaches and cannot sleep at night having horrible swests and there is ash all over my property in Maui meadows

  • Jay

    Funny how we just had a cane burn from what I understand just this past week or two and then I see so many people complaining about colds.

    Thank you very much Maui for allowing this, now because of this I’m coming down with asthma!

    People have their heads up their rears if you think there’s nothing dangerous about this!

    When is Maui going to do something about this and stop it?

    Your destroying people’s health by allowing this continue!

    If the people that run this website have never considered this, then please do so now, please contact the major media in the USA, Fox, ABC, NBC, etc, and have them do a story on this. Maybe if this starts making some major news, then there will finally be some action.

    I can’t believe that the American Lung Association or EPA can’t get in on this and take action against this to help the people, or any other big groups.

    It’s time for the stupidity to stop now!

    • Stop Cane Burning

      Actually the EPA HAS gotten involved which is why we had about 2 weeks of no-burn harvesting. They pressured the Hawaii Dept of Health (which issues the cane-burning permit) to include more scientific criteria for calling no-burn days.

      • Gene Richardson

        What!!! are these officials kidding. Allowing the burning to continue is criminal. I hope they all get respitory disease perhaps then they will pay attention. We need a temporary injunction to stop the burn until the Dept of Health revokes the permit. Any idiot knows the respitory problems are from cane burning, scientific proof is a stalling tactic. A demonstration at the airport might get some action, since it would effect $$$$ profits and tourism.

  • Rena Blumberg

    We were at the young keiki playgroup at Kula park with dozens of young children. The cane smoke (and smoke from the burning PVC irrigation pipes) rolled in and choked us out. We had to flee, coughing all the way. Cane burning should be banned on Maui. Why are A&B and HC&S allowed to poison us??!!! This was on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012. The smoked reached us and overpowered us around 10:30 pr 10:45 a.m. Please, Stop the Cane Burning!

  • I am filing a complaint about Wednesday the 28th of November 2012. I was experiencing extreme sensitivities of the eyes, ears, and skin. On my way to work in route to Lahaina from Haiku I witnessed the sky filling up with smoke as early as 8:00 am.

    There have been many other days where there has been continuous cane burning in Maui County. I used to live in Paia and the days that the fields where being burned close to home, I would have to quickly evacuate myself and pets out of the house. Ashes would rain down on my vehicle, home, and yard. The affects from the burning of sugar cane, plastic, and other toxic materials, are negative. Billows of smoke, and ash rain into our air and out to sea.. It is also affecting the reef and aquatic wildlife by changing the Ph of the ocean water .

    My respiratory tract, ears and skin have had ongoing problems due to the pollutants released from the burning of sugar cane.

    My quality of life is affected directly by the burning of sugar cane.

  • Anne Montgomery

    This is a terrible health hazard. I advocate another safer method of harvesting.

  • MikeWildberger

    Yesterday, November 17, I had to drive from Kihei to Kahului at 5 am and was in cane smoke much of the drive. Far from the burn the smoke was at ground level. The day before it was the same on the mud flats. My service truck is not equipped with an air recycle setting so it is impossible for me to transit areas of smoke with out being exposed. The exposure left me coughing and wheezing and unable to work today. I am self employed, work every day, and do not get ” sick days ” so this has an immediate effect on my business and income.

    Clearly, no one or group can predict or even detect every time an inversion layer may hold the smoke down in harms way so this will continue to happen as long as burning continues.

  • Stop Cane Burning

    Emailed 10/22/2012 (Follow up to same request handed in writing in September)
    No response whatsoever to this so I sent them registered mail which I got return receipt for – but still no response from the Dept. of Health.

    Dear State Dept. of Health and EPA,

    Please inform me when the HC&S Open Air Burning permit is in the applicantion process so that I may participate in the process and comment.

    Please inform me when the HC&S Coal/bagass plant permit is up for review so that I may participate in the process and comment.

    Two months ago I requested the dates that DoH called no burn for air quality reasons for the last two years.

    I followed this up with a written request a month ago.

    I HAVE HEARD NOTHING BACK FROM YOU. No acknowledgement (although I watched as Blake Shiigi stamped the written request with the date submitted and he said that Oahu DoH would respond to me) and NO DATA.

    Please send me the dates that no-burn days were called for the last two years. THIS IS MY THIRD REQUEST.

    Please do not forget to notify me when the two permits for HC&S (open air burning, coal plant) are in process and let me know how I may submit comments.

    Looking forward to prompt responses to my requests.

    Karen Chun

  • Stop Cane Burning


    I am filing a formal complaint for the burn this morning on October 23rd. I could not sleep all during the night, and kept waking up coughing. When my alarm finally went off at 5am, I realized the reason I could not sleep– I live in Spreckelsville and the cane smoke from the burn was coming STRAIGHT into my lungs through my East facing window. On my way to work I was short of breath and feeling “under the weather”. I am a teacher and I have to feel 100%+ every day to handle my students. Today I was not, due to the cane smoke in my lungs, eyes, and skin. Many of my students were complaining today about their breathing was “hard” and they “couldn’t catch their breath”. SHAME ON YOU!!!