PHOENIX - As family and friends try to connect with loved ones on Maui following the devastating wildfires there, communication on the island is still limited, meaning it can be hard to get a message out from the island to elsewhere.
Ryan Udarbe, the president of a Hawaiian canoe club in Tempe, has not heard back from his friends and loved ones on Maui just yet.
"I spent July back in Maui ,and I was actually in Lahaina every day, racing outrigger canoes with the club out there,' said Udarbe.
Udarbe was born and raised in Maui, but has been living in Gilbert for the past 17 years.
"I lived in Kihei," said Udarbe. "My mom used to work in Lahaina, so I was there often. I went to school there for a little bit too."
Looking at before and after pictures of Lahaina has been difficult for Udarbe.
"I was just sending my friends a picture of a building and said 'hey, we were just here a few weeks ago having lunch, and now, there's nothing there,'" said Udarbe.
Udarbe said he is concerned about his family and friends, whom he hasn't heard from since the deadly fire broke out.
"I know you've probably seen pictures of the cars on front street parked there all burnt. Those are no parking spots," said Udarbe. "They had nowhere to run, so they parked their car and jumped in the water, and the water was on fire too. Just not a good situation."
Udarbe was able to get in contact with immediate family members, who say they weren't caught in the fire.
"Just sad and gut-wrenched, I guess, not knowing what's going on," said Udarbe. "They really don't have any means of communication. No power."
In the meantime, Udarbe said he is choosing to stay positive.
"I have hope because I know people back home always pull together and help each other out, no matter what," said Udarbe.