Hawaii Wildfires: Six Dead and More Injured As Fire Swept Maui

Six people have lost their lives and several others are injured due to wildfires engulfing the Hawaiian Island of Maui, according to authorities.

Power and cellphone service are disrupted for many because of the fires fueled by winds from a nearby hurricane in the Pacific Ocean.

Blazes are also evident on the Big Island, alternatively known as Hawaii island, adjacent to Maui. Search and rescue operations are underway, authorities indicate; however, the fatality count might increase.

Government agencies have cleared neighborhoods, sealed roads, and established temporary accommodation for numerous displaced people. An emergency order has been issued discouraging visits to Maui, which is a popular tourist spot.

“We have shelters that are overrun, we have resources that are being taxed, we are doing whatever we can” for the community, articulated state Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke during a Wednesday press update.

Approximately 4,000 tourists in Maui are trying to leave the island, relayed state transportation representative Ed Sniffen.

Many are also deprived of cellular connectivity due to nearly 29 power infrastructure failures. The extent of damage to properties and enterprises remains uncertain, authorities mention.

Maj Gen Kenneth S Hara, overseeing the emergency measures, emphasized the current objective is “saving lives, preventing human suffering, and mitigating great property loss”.

Over 12,000 Hawaii residents are presently without electricity, PowerOutage.Us reports.

Significant devastation occurred in the Maui locale of Lahaina and parts of the town either faced ruin or significant harm from the fire. A local shared that every vessel in the town’s dock was aflame.

The US Coast Guard reported rescuing 12 individuals after alarms of locals retreating into the waters to escape the fire.

Maui’s Mayor Richard Missen confirmed six casualties but withheld additional specifics.

Additionally, over 20 people were injured, among them a firefighter who inhaled smoke. Three of the injured are in severe condition.

Potential escalations in the fatality count are anticipated as emergency actions and relocations persist.

Ms Luke suggested in her recent update that a comprehensive damage evaluation could last “several weeks”. She also expressed concerns about potential “civil unrest” in the aftermath.

The blaze in Lahaina is among at least seven currently active in Hawaii. The city, located on Maui’s western side, is home to approximately 13,000 residents.

Local, Dustin Kaleiopu, disclosed to Hawaii News Now about his residence being razed.

“Everything that we’d ever known was gone. Our church, our schools, every single memory we had on this household,” he said. “Everything was gone in the blink of an eye.”

“There is no Lahaina,” resident Kekai Keahi told the Associated Press news agency. “Lahaina no exist anymore.”

This fire is among many in Hawaii, escalated by Hurricane Dora’s intense winds from afar, paired with dry conditions, as per the National Weather Service’s Honolulu division.

Authorities indicated that these winds have rendered aerial firefighting attempts challenging. Both the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the US Marines have joined the response efforts, as announced by the White House.

FEMA’s contribution also encompasses essential provisions such as sustenance, potable water, and bedding.

Ms. Luke declared an emergency the previous night and mobilized the state’s military reserves.

While Hawaiian fires are generally lesser in magnitude than California’s, they’re deemed more devastating due to Hawaii’s unique ecological history that didn’t factor in fires before human colonization.