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Maui Wildfires: At Least 53 Dead and Hundreds Missing

The Hawaiian island of Maui is wrestling with the repercussions of a disastrous rapidly spreading fire that has killed more than 53 people and burned historic Lahaina town to ashes. The staggering flames have left areas wrecked, milestones roasted to the point of being indistinguishable, and survivors with frightening stories of near disasters.

As the state’s deadliest catastrophic event since a 1960 tsunami, the loss of life is supposed to rise further as search and rescue tasks proceed.

Maui Wildfires: At Least 53 Dead and Hundreds Missing

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A flyover of historic Lahaina revealed a no man’s land of charred areas and tourist spots that were once vibrant and bustling with life. Whole blocks, including the popular Front Road where travelers shopped and ate, have been diminished to rubble and darkened foundations.

Boats in the harbor were seared, and a thick blanket of smoke looms over the town. Hawaii Governor Josh Green described the devastation, stating that “Lahaina, with a few rare exceptions, has been burned down.”

More than 1,000 structures have been destroyed by the fires, leaving residents and business owners reeling from the loss. Survivors of the Maui wildfires have described their frightening encounters of getting away with just whatever they might be wearing.

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Some had only minutes to clear as blazes raced through parched growth covering the island. Lahaina occupant Bosco Bae posted a video via social media, showing buildings engulfed in flames as sirens blared and windblown sparks raced by.

Others, like Marlon Vasquez and his sibling Eduardo, needed to escape through smoke-filled skies, heaving from the poisonous vapor. The group of Kamuela Kawaakoa and Iiulia Yasso barely got away from their apartment as bushes around them caught fire, highlighting the urgency of the situation.

While the specific reason for the Maui wildfire is still being scrutinized, specialists suspect that human development and climate change play had a huge influence.

Unmanaged, nonnative grasslands that cover around 1,000,000 sections of land across the Hawaiian islands have made the ideal fuel for wildfires. These invasive grasses, coupled with dry conditions, strong winds, and extreme weather events like Hurricane Dora, have created a recipe for disaster.

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The increasing frequency of wildfires in Maui, Hawaii is a stark reminder of the urgent need to address climate change and its impact on ecosystems.

Right after the staggering rapidly spreading fires, reaction and aid ventures have been prepared to help impacted regions. President Joe Biden declared a major disaster on Maui, pledging federal support and resources to help those affected.

The Hawaii National Guard has been activated to assist with fire suppression and search and rescue operations.

Evacuation shelters have been opened, and efforts are underway to provide assistance to displaced residents. However, challenges such as overwhelmed hospitals, lack of communication, and power outages are hampering relief efforts.

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