Wildfires Devastate Maui 

The city of Lahaina on the island of Maui in Hawaii was destroyed by a terrible fire.

You may have heard about famous fires such as the Great Chicago Fire, which burned down a large part of Chicago. You may have also heard about major wildfires in recent years in places such as California, Australia, and Canada. This August, the island of Maui was added to the list of places that have been devastated by fire. Maui is an island on the Hawaii archipelago (a group of islands) in the South Pacific Ocean. It is part of the state of Hawaii, and the United States, even though it is far away from North America. The fire will go down in history as one of the worst ever in the United States.  

Nobody knows how the fire started. We do know that it did not rain much in the area. Dry weather is perfect for starting fires that spread quickly. Fast winds from Hurricane Dora, which travelled across the Pacific Ocean without hitting Hawaii, also contributed to the fire’s rapid spread. Maui has an Emergency Alert System (EAS). This system uses sirens, television, and text messages to warn people about danger. The EAS was not turned on.  

On August 8th, people began to evacuate, but the fire spread very quickly. Some people did not have much time to decide on an escape route. They fled into the ocean to survive, though it meant risking drowning or freezing to death. They could only watch and hope for rescue as the city of Lahaina was destroyed by the fire. Around 100 people were rescued in the ocean after the terrible ordeal. 

The fire has caused over five and a half billion dollars of damage to Maui. About 2,200 buildings were destroyed. Over 11,000 people have been displaced (forced to leave the area). Many people lost their lives. It will take a long time and a lot of help for Maui to recover. 

What Can You Do? Thousands of people have lost their homes and businesses. Research the charities that will help the people of Maui rebuild. 

Photo Credit: US National Guard media by Master Sgt. Andrew Jackson/DVIDS