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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Hawaii town ablaze: Residents flee to ocean

Hawaii Island Engulfed: Blaze Claims Lives, Historic Town and Forces Ocean Escape. A wildfire engulfed Maui’s heart in darkness, obliterating a historic town, and compelling inhabitants to seek refuge in the ocean.

The death toll stands at six, with dozens injured, and 271 structures damaged or ruined. The fires, fueled by Hurricane Dora’s fierce winds, continue to rage, prompting concerns of a rising death count.

Maui’s Mayor Richard Bissen expressed the somber gravity of the situation and offered condolences to the families affected.

As winds subsided slightly, flights resumed, allowing aerial views of the devastation. Lahaina, a coastal town, bore the brunt, with heaps of rubble replacing homes and businesses, and charred trees casting a grim shadow. The Governor’s office urged evacuation from the danger zone.

The blaze’s origin is uncertain, but high winds, low humidity, and dry vegetation likely contributed.

The climate crisis also heightens such extreme events, as hotter temperatures accelerate vegetation dryness.

The flames spread rapidly through Lahaina, a historic town dating back to the 1700s, leaving destruction in its wake.

The Coast Guard rescued individuals from the ocean as fire and smoke engulfed the land. At least six lives were lost, but search and rescue efforts continue.

President Joe Biden has directed federal assistance to Hawaii, with resources from the Coast Guard, Navy, and Marines deployed to aid the crisis.

Evacuation efforts are underway, and displaced individuals are being sheltered at various locations. The catastrophe has left local residents devastated, losing homes and possessions.

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