Lara Murray-Sterzel, Editor-In-Chief
On Tuesday, Aug. 8, Hawaii was met with a horrific disaster. A large and mysterious wildfire had begun to spread, reaching Hawaiian communities without any warnings. Hawaiian citizens tried to flee with their families before the fires could reach them. The death rate from that day has grown close to a hundred. This would become known as the Maui Wildfires, the deadliest wildfire in modern U.S. History to be documented in hundred years.
News networks have captured aerial footage once the smoke cleared; historical buildings, vibrant homes, and luscious landscapes have been reduced to ashes. New images were released of abandoned cars having been completely incinerated by the tremendous wildfires. According to reports, two thousand buildings were burnt that day.
On the day of the Maui Wildfires, no alerts nor sirens sounded in the peaceful communities. This left people angry and confused by their officials’ failure in protecting them. Some questions were raised whether they weren’t quick enough to alert the public. Others have questioned if the wildfires had caused a power outage in their communications system. But, to the surprise of many, the police department received no warning of the wildfires. Police found out about it when the smoke became noticeable and people were evacuating. Hawaii officials addressed to the public that there were no records of Maui’s sirens ever being activated. Six people remain missing on the List of Unannounced For/Missing People from Lahaina.
Once the wildfires finished running its course, searches for the missing and recuperation of the survivors began. During the first few days police officers conducted searches within neighborhoods and cars using cadaver dogs, but none weren’t permitted to enter any buildings. In the areas, fires were still lingering inside the buildings. Firefighters were in charge of inspecting and putting out any signs of fire life. When it became safe for citizens to return home, they weren’t left with much to go back to. Homes were burned to the ground and communities were left without any power. Governor Josh Green urged anyone with room in their homes to provide shelters to those who don’t.
Two months later Kula residents now look to rebuild their lives and protect their land from another fire. The Kula Community Watershed Alliance was founded on the concerns and careful observations on landslides caused by loose soil and ashes. This program works to stabilize the Hawaiian land again by using wood chips from chopped down Wattle trees to save fresh soil from being contaminated or eroded by the ashes. With this barrier in place, planting can begin.
On further note Hawaii Representatives Mazie Hirono and Jill Tokuda have passed a bill to reduce any taxes Hawaii citizens will face from the Maui Wildfires. It’ll provide citizens the chance to recover from their losses without having to worry about the taxation of damages caused by the wildfires. With the end of the Maui Wildfires, comes the beginning of a stronger community.