Maui, HI, known for its breathtaking landscapes and clear blue waters, has been negatively affected in unimaginable ways. On Tuesday, August 8th, Maui reported brush fires in the Kula mountains that seemed to be a non-threat. However, these fires have since spread to various regions in Maui, leading to the destruction of wildlife and human life.
The cause of this brush fire is unknown to experts at this time. Most theories lead to stormy weather conditions, droughts, and the looming global warming. High winds from Hurricane Dora are what seemingly spread these fires throughout Maui in such a fast manner. The Governor of Hawaii, Josh Green, reported to CNN that "It is a product, in my estimation, of certainly global warming combined with drought, combined with a super storm, where we had a hurricane offshore several hundred miles, still generating large winds."
Source: New York Post
Others are under the impression that electrical lines controlled by Hawaiin Electric were not appropriately installed or upgraded. These lines were not equipped to handle winds and other natural products of living in a stormy area. A spokesperson for Hawaiin Electric noted that actions were taken to mitigate the faulty lines before the storm approached Hawaii. However, these precautions were not enough.
The emotional and physical toll these fires have had on Hawaiian citizens is unimaginable. With over 110 people killed and a majority of the historic Lahaina destroyed, residents of Maui are in mourning over their beautiful island's current state. With nowhere to flee, people were forced to escape the fires by finding shelter in the ocean for over 6 hours. Loss of power from the storms and fires left families unaware of their loved one's whereabouts.
Source: Big Island Now
The nightmare that is taking place in Maui has been proclaimed a Federal Disaster by President Biden. National Guard troops have begun entering the tragic scenes orbiting Maui. In an attempt to alert civilians of the growing fires, alerts were sent to people's devices. However, because of the power outages and lack of resources, many were unaware of the progression of the fires. Emergency sirens placed throughout Maui were not sounded because of the fear that people would run to the mountains for shelter. Had they done this, citizens would have gone straight to the fire-infested hills.
Over $12 million dollars has been delegated to aid the families affected by the fires. The Biden Administration has published a Facts Sheet listing their latest actions in assisting Maui. In it, his team ensures that "Thousands of personnel from across dozens of Federal departments and agencies continue working with state and local partners on the ground to assess ongoing needs and provide resources and personnel to support response efforts."
Source: ABC News
The devastation surrounding beautiful Hawaii is difficult to witness, even from afar. With hopelessness in the outskirts of Hawaii, it feels as though there are no ways to help. While outsiders might not be directly involved in firefighting operations during Maui wildfires, there are still impactful ways to offer support. Whether it be sending needed goods to families or donating to local fire departments, the small island can use all the support people are willing to offer. Listed below are resources where even the smallest contributions can make a significant impact.
Hawaii Community Foundation
Maui United Way
Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement
American Red Cross
Food and Supplies
Maui Food Bank
Hawai‘i Island Food Bank (The Food Basket)
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Hawaii Food Bank
American Red Cross
War Memorial Complex
700 Halia Nakoa St, Wailuku, HI 97693
Hannibal Tavares Community Center
91 Pukalani St, Makawao, HI 96768
Grace Bible Church
635 Hina Ave, Kahului, HI 96732
Mental Health and Crisis Counseling
Hawai‘i CARES 988
Call or text 988
The State of Hawai‘i Department of Health, Maui Community Mental Health Center
Child & Family Service