Wildfires rip through Maui

If you're looking for a vacation fit for a postcard, you'd be hard-pressed to find a location more perfect than the Hawaiian island of Maui. But this week, the tropical paradise has looked more like a wasteland after wildfires killed dozens of people.

Ninety percent of the trips Jim Bendt plans are to Hawaii at his Excelsior-based agency Pique Travel are to Hawaii.

"Hearing the devastating news about the lives that were lost and Lahaina literally being destroyed is really hard to take," said Bendt.

He has a personal connection to the area as well, having lived there with his wife for 3 years. While the wildfires have made communications difficult, he's been in contact with his clients currently on vacation in Hawaii to keep them updated on the situation and make sure they're doing OK. In the wake of the fires.

Bendt says the tourism industry has come together.

"A lot of the inner island flights on Hawaiian Airlines or Southwest — they're only charging a $19 fee to evacuate off of Maui and all the major carriers, like Delta, have waived change fees. No one is bringing tourists into Maui, but they are flying their planes empty, so people can fly back to the mainland," said Bendt, who is advising his clients with trips booked to Maui in the next week to reschedule.

However, he says to keep your plans in place for now if you're traveling there over the next year.

"I know a lot of people might be thinking about — 'If I have a trip in September or October maybe I should cancel?' Our advice is not to cancel. The second major devastating thing that can happen is people don't go to Maui and it's an island that relies on tourism dollars," Bendt said.

If you would like to help, the Hawaiian Governor's Office is directing people to donate to the Hawaii Community Foundation. Funds donated are being used directly to help those impacted by the fires.