GARNER, N.C. (WNCN) — A Garner family is one of thousands that had to flee Maui, Hawaii over the last few days as wildfires destroyed land and buildings across the island that killed at least 36 people.

“We were just lucky to get off Maui before it’s been engulfed, basically,” said Andie Jones, who lives in Garner.

Jones said her family got to Maui on Aug. 3.

“We were about ten minutes north of the area that’s been hit the hardest, and were there a couple of days prior doing a sailing tour and having fun,” Jones said.

But by Tuesday, things turned scary.

“We lost power at about 11 o’clock on our last night there,” Jones explained.

The family packed up and fled to the airport, but Jones says the drive was nothing short of terrifying for the family.

“It felt like we were in a sand tornado, so there was so much sand coming up around the car, and the trees were down, the lights were down, it was just very…it was very hazardous,” Jones said.

With her three kids in the backseat, she says the trip to the airport took hours.

“We were just stopped in traffic for a couple of hours, all of the power lines were down, there were some cops that were trying to help but with the linemen trying to do that as well, it was difficult,” Jones said.

The family was eventually able to get to the airport and on a flight to Oahu, where they’ve been since.

Jones says within just hours, things the family saw and experienced on Maui were just completely wiped away.

“I know there’s a lot of people that have vacationed on Maui, that have honeymooned on Maui, that had places that were very memorable to them that are now just no longer there,” she said.

Jones said her family has been in touch with some locals they met while on vacation, trying to figure out how to best support them after their homes were just wiped away.