The tourist-attracting sparkling beaches and invigorating forests of Maui are nowhere to be seen. The honeymoon sunsets on the sandy shores of Kaanapali have been replaced with raging flames as dangerous wildfires have seized control over the island.
The inferno sparkled ablaze on August 8th, around two weeks ago. Conditions in the atmosphere created the perfect environment for a deadly blaze having claimed the lives of hundreds, and counting. The town of Lahaina has been utterly destroyed, with the flames consuming more than 2,000 homes and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate.
High speed winds from a nearby storm in Category 4 Hurricane Dora allowed the fire to spread easily across Maui. Officials are yet to find exactly what started the wildfires, and investigations are currently underway to help identify the culprit of such devastating flames. While there is no official report yet, many have honed in on power grid malfunctions that sputtered leading up to the start of the first fire.
With over 100 people dead, thousands of buildings engulfed in fire, and even more stressed Americans displaced on Maui, many are criticizing the relief effort. The response to help the island has been delayed, and only recently have government agencies begun to ramp up efforts.
While the government has been lagging behind in finding unburned roofs and fresh food for survivors and refugees, many private entities are beginning to lend a hand. The University of Illinois and University of Kansas are hosting a charity basketball game, shooting hoops for Maui wildfire relief. Transportation corporations like Uber are getting displaced locals from point A to point B. Good Morning America’s ‘Maui Strong’ campaign surpassed a whopping $3 million in funds for the people who need them on the island.
While the wildfires have yet to cease, there’s options for us at home to extinguish some stress in the hearts of many people stuck on Maui. Support the charity organizations assisting in the relief efforts like the Maui United Way Relief Fund. Many local movements have sparked ablaze just as quickly as the flames did weeks ago, doing their best to rapidly counter the sparks of uncertainty and fear brought by the wildfires. Being knocked down is only one part of the fight. It’s our job to make sure we raise Maui back on her feet and strike back in the face of death.