Image credit: KPRC 2 Click2Houston Youtube thumbnail

At Least 36 Dead As Wildfires Sweep Through Maui


At least 36 people have been killed after devastating wildfires swept through Hawaii’s Big Island and Maui, officials said Wednesday.

According to KGMB-TV, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued 14 people who jumped into the Lahaina harbor to escape the flames in the historic town. The fire is one of the deadliest in recent years. More than 11,000 passengers and roughly 400 airline workers left Maui on Wednesday, said Ed Sniffen of the Hawaii Department of Transportation. 

The cause of the wildfires has not yet been determined.

“We don’t know what actually ignited the fires, but we were made aware in advance by the National Weather Service that we were in a red flag situation — so that’s dry conditions for a long time, so the fuel, the trees and everything, was dry,” Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, commander general of the Hawaii Army National Guard, said at a news briefing.

Many residents have still not been accounted for.

“I have extended family, my grandmother, my uncle, my friends, family members that we’re looking for,” Maui resident Dustin Kaleiopu told CNN. “So many people have gone missing. I will say that that is an unspoken fact that the death toll is way higher than 36. And we just hope that it is not confirmed to be, like I said, too much higher than that number. But there was a mass casualty event that happened this week,” he said.

Hurricane Dora, which ripped south of the islands this week, is heightening the low-pressure system and increasing the difference in air pressure to form “unusually strong trade winds,” Genki Kino, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Honolulu, told AP News.

Bus evacuations, transporting visitors in West Maui to Kahului Airport, resumed at 8:30 a.m. local time Thursday.

If you’d like to support those affected by the wildfires, here are some organizations you can donate to:

The Maui Mutual Aid Fund

The Hawaii Community Foundation

The Maui Relief Fund

The Maui Food Bank

You May Also Like