On Wednesday, a fire in the middle of Maui’s Hawaiian island engulfed the jungle, casting a dark shadow. As a result, a significant portion of a historic city turned to ashes, forcing people to jump into the sea to escape the flames’ embrace. At least six people lost their lives, and dozens were injured.
The hurricane Dora’s strong winds, which were blowing south of the island, fed the fire until Wednesday afternoon. Authorities are worried that the death toll may increase.
As the winds subsided somewhat, some airplanes resumed flights, giving pilots a chance to survey the extent of the devastation. Videos from Lahaina’s coastline depicted dozens of homes and businesses, including Front Street, being reduced to ruins. Piles of smoke lay beside the seashore, ships rocked in the harbor, and ash floated over charred treeless remains.
Acting Governor Sylvia Luke stated that the flames had “devastated communities” and urged travelers to stay away. “There is no safe place to stay,” she said.
Assistant General of the Air National Guard, Major General Kenneth Hara, mentioned that the exact cause of the fire was undetermined, but factors like high winds, low humidity, and dry vegetation contributed. Experts also noted that the likelihood of more extreme weather events is increasing due to climate change.
Erika Fleishman, Director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute at Oregon State University, remarked, “Climate change is causing increased aridity of vegetation in many parts of the world, due to higher temperatures. Even if you have the same amount of precipitation, In spite of the same amount of precipitation, things dry out quickly in hot temperatures.
The wind-driven fire swiftly tore through the area with alarming speed and intensity, leaping from intersections and racing towards the heart of Lahaina, leaping onto the wooden buildings of the city center. These buildings, from the 1700s, hold a place on the National Register of Historic Places.