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Hawaiian Forest Fires Causing Mass Destruction

Updated: Mar 12

The National Weather Service reported that dry global temperatures and atmospheric contrast from Hurricane Dora caused wildfires in the Hawaiian island of Maui. Hurricane Dora’s strong winds passed over sections of Maui, causing fires to spread across Lahaina, a popular tourist destination town.

More than 11,000 people evacuated the island since the wildfires, according to Ed Sniffen, director of the Hawaii Department of Transport. The fire caused significant damage to shopping outlets, homes, vehicles, and forests. A reported 36 deaths occurred since yesterday, when the fires began.

John Merolla, an Argentinian, currently living in Maui, who over the last five months has worked on construction of housing complexes and buildings reports that most of the new homes were evacuated.

Merolla also belongs to a “Maui Social Club” chat group where many living regionally report on activities, events, and social gatherings across Maui. While the wildfires occurred, the group created a checklist within their chat to monitor members’ safety and determine who remained missing.

“It was heavy,” a Maui Social Club member said.

Merolla offered his home, in Kihei, Maui, off Maalaea Bay, to shelter a group member who lived in Lahaina, and “lost absolutely everything, her clothes, passport, money, and personal belongings.”

“Some locals jumped in the water across the shoreline to escape the heat and smoke,”

another Maui Social Club member wrote.

Hawaii Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke announced to Hawaii’s Convention Center that the “road to recovery will be long.” Local businesses, homes, and churches were destroyed. Luke says it will take years, but she will work closely with Gov. Josh Green and the Hawaiian Business Administration and legislators to address concerns and damages.

By Alex Fernandez