A massive wildfire has destroyed old town Lahaina. The Coast Guard had to rescue people who jumped into the ocean to avoid being burned. Fire was whipped up by high winds partially fueled by Hurricane Dora, a Category 4 storm, which was passing to the south of the island chain. The hurricane or storm did not effect us much except for wind and in some cases some rain.
Lahaina is on the south west end of the island, so most of the rest of the island is not in danger now. Of course if the wind changes direction that could change.
I heard that the airport is a bit less full than it would be normally as tourists headed here are being diverted. I heard that TSA has made exiting quite efficient and that the airport is being run quite efficiently.
I have never seen so many local flights on Flightaware with Hawaiian Air and Southwest landing and taking off from Kahalui Airport (OGG) and helicopters. The fires are in the area where there are resorts along the coast. I am seeing flights goint to all sorts of other local airports rather than all to one location. This may be because people on Maui may have relatives on other islands where they could stay with them. It is only a guess on my part as I am not involved with any of this, olny passing along what I hear and think.
911 phone lines are down and people are being told to text 911. I believe I heard Internet on the Island is down too.
Other islands can only help remotely. Some Oahu island hospitals are on diversion which means that they will take any injuries from Maui as the priority. I am sure that temporarily, elective surgeries may be held off just in case of incoming injuries.
The Governor was out of state but is heading back. Unlike other Governors, ours is a M.D.
If you have future travel to Maui, especially to Lahaina area, you might wait a few days to see if changes to your trip might be appropriate.
Unfortunately, the Banyan tree is burned and gone (from what I understand).
6 Deaths so far, many burn victums, thousands of visitors being evacuated.
There is an app on Roku, perhaps others caleld HAWAII NEWS NOW which is an Oahu TV station.
The Govenor is flying back from the East Coast. He is actually also an M.D. and had helped in numerous places recently with people having medical issues (like on his flight).
Gusts up to 40mph in many places in the state.
People flying into Maui last night were told they had to stay within the airport as they would be flying out this morning. Most of Historic Old Lahaina is burned to the ground.
Walmart became a refugee center also, opened their restrooms for people displaced and they added porta-potties to help.
This is so sad. Unlike many place on the mainland where a wildfire might be nearby but you have time to evacuate, this was quite sudden and I’m sure residents lost everything. If they need to leave the island, it is by boat or plane. So far it is only one town on the island. The Hurricane has passed and the winds should die down soon and that should help.
I saw several tourist interviewed on the news that were staying in Kaanapali north of Lahaina. Kaanapali is a large resort area. They could not travel south through Lahaina to get back to the airport so they did the drive north around northwest Maui to get back to the OGG airport. They talked about how treacherous the road was. We did that drive many years ago, I wouldn’t call it treacherous but dangerous but I was a bit younger then. Many areas were narrow single lane on cliffs. Fantastic views! Every once in a while if you met someone coming the other direction one of you would have to backup to a pull off.
There’s about a mile section that is only one lane near the little village of Kahakaloa. I ride my bike through there often, mostly to go get banana bread. When traffic gets messed up, I just go by them all with my bike. Normally not tons of traffic, but I could see that section becoming a mess if people from north of Lahaina were all going that way to get to Kahului. The rest of the road is just windy but I wouldn’t call it treacherous, or even dangerous for that matter. I’m sure people that may have been a bit panicked to get out were shooting through there faster than they should have. It’s normally 25 mph. But yes, the views are spectacular.
I hear that invasive plant species played a role in making the Hawaiian wildfires worse. It’s similar to the problems that we’ve seen in the mountain west area of the mainland that contribute to the intensity of recent wildfires all over the western US.
We have a non-native grass, called “Cheatgrass” that found its way here from the Mediterranean region of Europe in the mid-eighteen hundreds. Its an annual that sprouts early and dies off by mid summer and is highly flammable. To make matters worse, Cheatgrass moves in and dominates native plants after any burn, including controlled ones.
Almost all the good out here is balanced with bad.
Because of our weather, things grow year round. Because of that, weeds grow year round. I have grass 10’ tall here that I keep cutting. I can use Roundup-type stuff, but one of my neighbors waas one of the first to bring suit against Monsato for NonHodgekins Lymphona.
The main road around MY island (The Big Island) is a two lane road. In many places there are no alternatives and the speed is 35 mph. My Island is the size of Conneticut. An accident might take hours to clear. If a telephone pole comes down or is damaged, count on 6 hours. Heavy rains cause flooding and the rain could be falling 45 miles away and still cause a stream elsewhere you cannot drive across.
Most mainland locations have a few disaster-type events that can happen. Tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, fires, chemical spills. Here we can have almost every type of threat including tsunamis and lava flows.
In the old movie called “Oh God” there George Burns as God explains “Of course there is evil. Without evil there cannot be good. Without Right there cannot be Left, no up without down” (or words to that effect. So in what people call ‘Paradise’ we also can have Hell.
I can see mistakes that were made, based upon my experiences I have a few suggestions and will pass them along. They may be relavent and maybe not. Rather than point fingers I look at those things which can be done better. I hope all involved can do the same.
I recently saw a news article about NOT jumpting in the ocean or a pool if confronted by a fire. It was obvious the author was never put in that position. The piece looked like a fluff piece to take advantage of the current news situation.
In contrast, here is a news item explaing just how horrible it was for those involved.
Another news item today reported that some visitors on the island were out snorkling and swimming near where the bodies have been recoverd. It seems quite disrespectful.
There are requests for visitors to not go to Maui so that resources there can be used for residents and responders. The Tourism Authority has information about travel. In the past few days (Wed-Sat), 46,000 people have been flown out. There may be reasons to fly in, but it is highly discouraged. A number of celebreties (Oprah, Jason Mamoa) are helping and also getting word out through their social media that right now is not the time to gawk and to please rearrange their plans.
The publics’ understanding is most appreciated. This wildfire is a bit different from some on the mainland.
It is not the most efficient, but the list of those found and missing on Maui is online in a Google Spreadsheet.
I scrolled through many pages and it is interesting to see some of the comments how people were found. They ranged from Facebook posts, check-in sheets, cellphone calls and visual sightings.
Over 6400 people have been listed, including known homeless people and visitors to the island as well as residents.
At least one person was identified in a photo after the fire. Anothe rperson identified as having been seen on the beach after. Someone noted that a person posted a photo on their online album. Some entries say that the person was listed as found after seen in a news report being interviewed. As you look at the various ways people were added to the list and then reported found, you can understand how the numbers were constantly changing up and down. We had known visitors to the island, people who may have left on vacation, homeless people. I am sure that some people just hopped a flight to or from the island on a whim, and I guess airline and ship manifests were also consulted.
Here is a sample of one entry for a homeless person still missing. I didn’t post his name. I’m sure many people knew of him but probably not his history. Someone entered his name to the list.
(LINK TO: Lahaina Unsheltered Missing Persons Search). He is a regular outside of the Pioneer Inn and is always doing yoga across the street in the grass. He’s been homeless for a while in Maui. 30-40 years old - curly blonde hair in a ponytail.
When you think about it, everyone has a story, a history. More than people and buildings were lost that day.
Could leaves on a tree give hope after a disaster? The answer is YES!.
One of the most popular tourist items on Maui was the Banyan Tree. A gift from missionaries in India, the tree was planted in Lahaina on April 24, 1873, to mark the 50th anniversary of the arrival of first American Protestant mission. Covering 1.94 acres, the tree resides in Lahaina Banyan Court Park.
The Maui firestorm almost destroyed the tree but there is now hope and that hope is shared by many on the island recovering from the devastation.