Wildfires fanned by winds from a far-off hurricane burned portions of Maui, killing six, torching the historic town of Lahaina and forcing people to flee into the sea.
(Bloomberg) — Wildfires fanned by winds from a far-off hurricane burned portions of Maui, killing six, torching the historic town of Lahaina and forcing people to flee into the sea.
More than 2,100 spent the night in four emergency shelters while travelers from canceled or arriving flights sheltered at Kahului Airport.
The US Coast Guard rescued 14 people from the waters off Lahaina. The Maui County government warned no traffic would be allowed into West Maui except emergency personnel, cutting off access to popular resorts. Acting Governor Sylvia Luke activated the National Guard to deal with multiple wildfires now burning in the state.
“Much of Lahaina on Maui has been destroyed and hundreds of local families have been displaced,” said Governor Josh Green in a press release announcing he would immediately return to Hawaii from personal travel to deal with the crisis.
Lahaina lies on Maui’s dry, western side, and during the 1800s served as capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Photos posted online Wednesday appeared to show flames engulfing businesses that line Front Street, a tourist magnet packed with restaurants and small shops.
The flames were being fed by strong winds driven by Hurricane Dora, passing south of the islands. About 12,600 homes and businesses were without power at 10 a.m. local time, according to poweroutage.us. Lahaina also were without phone service, either landline or cellphone, according to Maui County.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.