CDP's Hawaii Wildfires Recovery Fund
Several wildfires have been reported in Hawaii the week of Aug. 6. On Aug. 8, a fire swept through the town of Lahaina in West Maui. A tourist town, home to 12,000 people and dozens of historic buildings. The community has been nearly completely destroyed and looks like “a war zone” according to a helicopter pilot who flew over the area. Videos show acres of smoking, charred rubble and debris.
People were forced to jump into the ocean, reminiscent of the Australian bushfires of 2019-2020. The fires were fueled by Hurricane Dora, which passed offshore but brought strong winds to Maui and Big Island all week.
The Lahaina fire received a FEMA Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) to assist in firefighting and response cost recovery.
Thousands have evacuated. At least 1,000 people stayed in American Red Cross shelters overnight, and another 2,000 people sheltered at the Kahului Airport. Acting Governor Sylvia Luke issued an emergency proclamation on Aug. 8, which was extended to all counties on Aug. 9.
According to The Guardian, “The fires in Hawaii are unlike many of those burning in the western US. They tend to break out in large grasslands on the dry sides of the islands and are generally much smaller than mainland fires. Fires were rare in Hawaii and on other tropical islands before humans arrived and ecosystems evolved without them, which means that great environmental damage can occur when fires erupt. Fires remove vegetation. When a fire is followed by heavy rainfall, the rain can carry loose soil into the ocean, where it can smother coral reefs.”
Make a gift to support medium- to long-term recovery for the communities impacted by the Hawaii wildfires.
Photo credit: Matthew Thayer/The Maui News via AP - The hall of Waiola Church in Lahaina and nearby Lahaina Hongwanji Mission are engulfed in flames along Wainee Street
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