Mahalo For Your Prayers Regarding the Maui Lahaina Fires
So many of you have reached out and asked about how we are all doing. Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much) for your concerns. Though we’re based out of Oahu and far away from the tragic Lahaina destruction, our hearts go out to the countless families affected by this worst-of-the-century event.
Everyone In Our Ohana Is OK
I have reached out to everyone in our circle of friends and family in Maui and thankfully they are all safe.
- Heidi Dollinger, our co-host of the Friday show, reported back safely though they lost power and had only spotty cell coverage.
- One of our members has a home near Lahaina and they happened to be off-island during the event and are now struggling to return home with supplies and aid – many of their friends are still missing.
- Liza Pierce who is a friend and runs A Maui Blog also checked in and she is safe.
- Other members of our Maui Islander Ohana have checked in to let us know they are OK.
- All of our personal contacts in Maui – thankfully – are safe.
But the Destruction from The Maui Lahaina Fires is not fully known
However, the search and rescue missions are not over yet. As of 8/15/23, only 25% of the damaged area has been surveyed and we already have 99 fatalities. Governor Josh Green (see his excellent Instagram page ) has stated that this number will inevitably go up and it doesn’t take much math to estimate this number, which is already the most deadly wildfire in the US in the past 100 years, will be going much higher.
Only a handful of the deceased have been publicly identified and as this list grows, the shock and pain will continue to reverberate throughout Hawaii and their connected networks.
Here’s How You Can Help – Do Something!
The site Mauistrong.hawaii.gov is the one I have bookmarked as a single, authoritative site that you can vector off and find whatever you are looking for. Two organizations you can support whose names keep coming up everywhere I look are Hawaii Red Cross and the Hawaii Community Foundation Maui Strong Fund. Every one of us can help in our own way and if you haven’t already done so, please help those who need your assistance.
We’re Only At The Beginning
We’re all still in shock and this is only the beginning. We still don’t have a definitive count of the souls we’ve lost. The physical damage is in the billions. We have far, far more questions than answers right now and the more we all come together and do the hard work, the sooner we will come out of this.
How Did The Maui Lahaina Fires Happen?
No one yet definitely knows the root cause of the fires, however we do know that we had a terrible combination of the following elements:
- A naturally dry physical landscape. The west sides of all the islands get very dry during the summer. This is a naturally recurring cycle related to the minimal summer rainfall.
- Extremely high winds. At the time, Hurricane Dora was passing south of the islands. While we thankfully didn’t get hit with the worst of the storm itself, we did get very high speed winds with gusts exceeding 60 mph.
- Lots of dry, wooden structures. Lahaina is a historic town, and in 1802 was declared the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom by King Kamehameha. Most if not all of the structures in the central part of town are wooden as are most of the homes in the surrounding area.
When you combine these elements, the result was a deadly fire that spread to fatal levels before anyone had the chance to act. Some of the photos show abandoned cars in the middle of the highway – that more than anything shows how quickly the situation escalated.
The Lahaina We Knew Is Gone
This Ben Kenobi quote comes to mind that describes what it feels like right now:
“I felt a great disturbance in the Force…as if millions of voices cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.”
Though the photos give us an idea of the destruction, it’s still hard to imagine that one of the most wonderful towns in Hawaii as we knew it is no more.
It’s Not Just Lahaina on Fire
There are other districts in Maui with fires still burning, including Kula, Olinda, and Pulehu, though thankfully none of them are showing the destruction of Lahaina.
We’ll Keep Updating about The Maui Lahaina Fires
We’re still trying to find our footing, trying to find where we belong in this puzzle to help. We’ll do our best to provide value and a unique angle on what is going on. Mahalo Nui for your continued support.
Please keep those in Maui in your prayers. Pray for the survivors, the firefighters, the volunteers, the supporters and pray for those who have left us as a result. Mahalo!
Maui Lahaina Fires Gallery – Big Mahalo to the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources
The amazing photography you see was taken by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. They graciously gave me permission to use their photography and with your help we can put it to good use.