36 Lives Lost as Hawaii Wildfires Engulf Historic Maui Town
The deadliest American wildfire in recent years forced thousands of people of Maui to seek to evacuate their homes as a fire tore through the entire island, destroying portions of the centuries-old city and taking at least 36 lives.
In Lahaina Town, a well-known tourist destination on the island, historic structures from the 1700s were destroyed by fire, leaving burned cars and other debris strewn on busy roads. On Wednesday, firefighters were able to put out the fire in numerous areas after some people and kids were forced to run into the water.
There were no additional information on the fatalities available as of late Wednesday, when a statement from Maui County acknowledged the passing of at least 36 persons. Authorities had previously reported that 271 structures were damaged or destroyed and that numerous individuals had been hurt.
On Tuesday afternoon in Lahaina, under a smoky sky, residents Kamuela Kawakoa and Eulia Yasu recounted a terrifying escape. The family and their 6-year-old kid returned to their flat after stopping at a store to buy water, but they barely had time to change into new clothing before having to run as flames tore through the neighbouring trees.
In an evacuation shelter on Wednesday, Kawakoa recalled, “We barely made it out,” but she was unsure if anything of their flat had survived.
A senior centre across the street was in flames as the family ran away. Although they dialled 911, it was unclear if anyone managed to escape. Fire alarms went off. They advanced slowly due to downed power lines and vehicles trying to escape the fire.
Kaawa, a resident of Lahaina for 34 years, had resided in the Surfside Apartments along with his father and grandmother. Being powerless to stop your community from burning was difficult, according to Kaawa. “I was powerless,”
Visitors were urged to avoid the area, and according to state transportation director Ed Sniffen, by Wednesday, roughly 11,000 tourists had left Maui. Another 1,500 were anticipated to leave on Thursday. To provide housing for those who were evacuated, officials set up the Hawaii Convention Centre in Honolulu.
The fire was different from the quickly spreading blazes on America’s West Coast, which often start in large grassy areas and are typically considerably smaller than flames on the mainland. The fire was driven by gusty winds from the south. In 2021, a fire on the Big Island resulted in extensive evacuations and the destruction of homes.
In Lahaina, fire erupted from parched grasslands and snuck down the mountainside. Locals were astounded by the pace with which it ripped through crowded neighbourhoods. Pilot with a tour firm Tom Chavez remarked, “It rips everything to shreds.”
The majority of visitors to Maui, according to Alan Dick, who owns three homes and an art gallery in Lahaina, go to Front Street. He remarked, “I don’t know what’s left, but the two blocks in the middle of town are the economic engine of this island.”
Dick left his garage as flames licked at the doors and his car was stuck inside with three pals and two animals in tow. To get to an evacuation shelter, a buddy drove him, his wife, Judith, and their cat, Sushi. They were unaware of what had occurred to their house.
He remarked, “We’re praying for the best. But we’re rather positive that it’s vanished.
President Joe Biden issued an order for government assistance to assist with the fire response and stated that Hawaii’s National Guard had helicopters available to assist with search and rescue operations. He remarked, “Our prayers are with the people who have witnessed the burning of their homes, places of business, and towns.
Hawaii-born former president Barack Obama stated on social media that it was difficult to witness images from a place that holds a special place in many people’s hearts.