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The Voice

The student news site of Terra Linda High School.

The Voice

The student news site of Terra Linda High School.

Havoc from Hawaii Fires



On August 8th, 2023 in Lahaina (meaning  “merciless sun.”),  over 2,000 acres and 2.4 square miles of pure physical damage ran through the island of Maui. The island itself has suffered immense damage and deforestation. Being unemployed, and homeless, left many Hawaiian residents forced to be rehabilitated. 


Lahaina, Maui, received the most damage from the 2023 wildfires. The old capital of the island, now Honolulu, has suffered for more than 3 weeks with firefighters and soldiers working day and night to prevent the spreading and prevent as much damage as possible. In 1845, the capital officially changed from Lahaina to Honolulu.  In a lot of the islands, the rain is pouring, but in Lahaina, the sun is always shining. 


Hawaii’s primary electrical company, Hawaiian Electric, has been reported to have started the fires. Currently, Maui County is following up with a lawsuit threatening to sue and withdraw Hawaiian Electric from the state and current county. For two weeks, the town had been going through stages of wind, dry trees, fuel, and land coming out of a hot and fire-prone summer. Hurricane Dora, caused winds to pick up and signal a red flag warning across Hawaii. Coming out of a dry summer the land had grown dry and fire-prone. The winds from the category 4 storm off of the Pacific Ocean,  . According to CBS News, “The winds were just getting out of control. Power lines were down everywhere.” Maui resident J.D. Hessemer Stated ” From a local business owner who experienced second guessing closing up business for the day after the winds and heat began to rise.” 


The firefighters quickly picked up helping with the Lahaina fires. The National Guard and a number of special agencies were called to assist the fires and quickly respond with tools and help. The state’s emergency response was that the National Guards helicopters were activated as the state began to see the blaze. On Thursday, August 10th, President Biden approved a Federal Disaster Declaration leaving the Island of Maui with quick assistance from troops and an extended state of emergency.


As of  August 25th, 115 deaths were declared and 388 people were reported missing, mostly kids and older residents. The youngest death that has been accounted for was  7-year-old Tony Takafua according to The New York Times. Many in Hawaii had to jump into the oceans to escape the fire and were forced to stay out there for hours on end. According to TNYT, many were trapped in traffic, blocked by power lines and blocked roads. 


Due to tourism, the water and resources are being sent to hotels and luxury real estate. This leaves the farmlands and open space with limited water supply. With that, the farms became easily overgrown and began to sweep the land. On top of that, the electrical power lines had aging poles and were in need of repair. As stated earlier, Hawaii Electric neglected these concerns and became unaware. Maui has 73 power lines, and as the wind picked up across the island, the powerlines started to fall and create bright flashes and caused trees to fall down on top of the lines. These trees caught fire on the lines and began to spread in the brush. 


More than 5.52 billion dollars of damage is due to the island, rebuilding the culture of Hawaii, and disruption of businesses. The lives lost have come up to 102 on August 25th. Unfortunately, the island is suffering an extreme loss of resources and hardship. Even with these hardships, the American Red Cross and support from agencies across the U.S.  Aloha United Way, a resource available to Hawaii Locals, provides “shelters, healthcare, food, school closures and much more.” Another easy resource is the Hawaii Red Cross which provides housing and shelter resources. 


If you would like to donate to the American Red Cross, click the link below.  

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