Any surfer with a heart has eyes glued on Maui and the unthinkable devastation happening there now. The Valley Isle, typically a vacation paradise for upper-middle class mainlanders, big wave aficionados and fans of Mtv’s hit 2007 show Maui Fever, has been ravaged by out-of-control wild fires.
Dry winds, spinning off a passing hurricane, quickly whipped flames through western parts of the county including historic Lahaina town which has been burned to the ground along with its port and many neighborhoods.
“It’s a real loss. Hawaii and Maui have tried really hard to preserve and protect those places for many, many years … not for the sake of tourism but because it’s part of our cultural heritage,” Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran declared.
Lahaina was once the Kingdom of Hawaii’s capital.
The fires, catching officials completely by surprise, moved so fast that residents in certain parts of the island became completely cut off and had to hurl themselves into the Pacific in order to survive. Hospitals are currently overwhelmed with burn and smoke inhalation patients with major airlines canceling flights so as not to add to the problem.
“We are already in communication with other hospital systems about relieving the burden – the reality is that we need to fly people out of Maui to give them burn support because Maui hospital cannot do extensive burn treatment,” acting Gov. Sylvia Luke said. “In addition to dealing with disaster, we’re dealing with major transportation issues as well.”
Thus far, six deaths have been reported with the number certain to climb.
Officials are asking residents to conserve water so that firefighters can better battle the blazes and also to stay off the roads to reduce congestion.
“911 is down. Cell service is down. Phone service is down. And that’s been part of the problem,” acting Gov. Luke added.
Those witnessing the carnage are calling it “an apocalypse.”
The American Red Cross is on the ground providing both logistics and shelter. Donate here.