Josh Green, the Governor of Hawaii, stated that over 2,700 structures in Lahaina have been lost, resulting in an approximate loss of $5.6 billion in value in Hawaii Maui Fires.
The blaze is already the deadliest US wildfire in over a century, and officials have warned the number of dead could rise further, as searches continue.
How did it started?
The origin of the wildfires remains uncertain as authorities have not yet verified their cause, which is currently under investigation.
Nonetheless, the combination of hurricane-force winds and arid conditions played a significant role in exacerbating the blaze. Hurricane Dora swept along Hawaii’s coastline on Tuesday, contributing the strong winds that facilitated the fire’s rapid propagation.
Hawaii has been experiencing an atypically dry period. The US Drought Monitor indicated that roughly 14 percent of the state is grappling with severe to moderate drought conditions, while 80 percent of Hawaii is facing abnormally dry conditions.
The precarious situation in Maui was widely acknowledged. The updated hazard mitigation plan for Maui County in 2020 specifically flagged Lahaina and other communities in West Maui as prone to frequent wildfires, with several buildings at risk. The report also highlighted that West Maui had the second-highest incidence of households without vehicles on the island and the highest proportion of non-English speakers.
Where have the fires spread?
The fires have caused widespread destruction on Maui, and nearby Big Island and Oahu have also experienced their share of blazes. The town of Lahaina on Maui has suffered severe damage, leaving behind ruins and debris.
Within a short span of time, the wildfire obliterated wooden residences and historic avenues, highlighting the ongoing worries about a persistent shortage of housing. According to Maui County’s assessments, over 80 percent of the 2,700 structures in Lahaina have been harmed or completely demolished. This has resulted in approximately 4,500 residents now requiring new shelter arrangements.
Featured Image: Burned houses and buildings in the aftermath of a wildfire in Lahaina, western Maui, Hawaii (Photo: Getty Images)