Hawaii’s “devastating” Maui wildfires are raging and causing some people to retreat into the water.

Flames from a wildfire as seen tearing through businesses in Lahaina, Hawaii on August 8, 2023. Some people jumped into the harbor to escape the flames, authorities said.ALAN DICKAR
Flames from a wildfire as seen tearing through businesses in Lahaina, Hawaii on August 8, 2023. Some people jumped into the harbor to escape the flames, authorities said. ALAN DICKAR

In Hawaii, wildfires that were fanned in part by storm winds drove hundreds of people to evacuate, cut power to thousands of people, burned homes, and even compelled some locals to jump into the ocean to flee the flames.

Mahina Martin, a spokeswoman for the County of Maui, told USA TODAY on Wednesday that the fires are affecting three different parts of the island: Kihei, which is home to a variety of residential homes, condominiums, short-term vacation rentals, and visitor facilities in South Maui; Kula, a residential area in the inland, mountainous Upcountry; and Lahaina, a residential and tourist area with a commercial district in West Maui.

As emergency teams battle brush and structure fires, Maui County officials reported that numerous structures had burnt and that numerous evacuation orders are in effect. It’s yet unknown how many people have been evacuated, how big the fires are, and how many buildings have been damaged, according to Martin.

At dawn, we shall discover a great deal, she remarked. It has been essentially all hands on deck throughout this unusual catastrophe that has affected significant portions of our island.

Acting Governor Sylvia Luke and Mayor Richard Bissen of Maui have declared states of emergency in response to the fire. According to the Hawaii Adjutant General, the Hawaii National Guard has been activated and is aiding the Maui Police Department at traffic control locations.

According to the National Weather Service, powerful, destructive winds were produced overnight by Hurricane Dora, which was moving 500 miles to the south of the island chain and a very strong high pressure system to the north of the state.

The weather service warned on Wednesday that severe fire weather conditions would persist through Wednesday afternoon due to the combination of these strong winds and low humidity levels.

Fire map for Maui

With data that is updated based on information from various event and intelligence sources, keep track of the most recent wildfire and red flag warnings here.

10 schools were closed, one of which was turned into an evacuation shelter.

According to the Hawaii Department of Education, ten public schools in Maui will be closed on Wednesday, including one that is serving as an evacuation shelter.

Boarding students from Lahainaluna High School were transferred to Maui High School on Tuesday night so they could be picked up by relatives or other emergency contacts. Because of a lack of electricity, wind damage, and evacuations related to brush fires, the Lahainaluna campus remained closed on Wednesday.

Officials declared Tuesday that four public schools in South Maui would be closed in addition to those in West, Upcountry, and Central Maui as a result of the brush fire that had reached Kihei.

At the airport in Maui, about 2,000 people are stuck.

More than 2,000 travelers, according to Martin, had canceled flights or were stuck at the Kahului Airport in Maui. According to the Hawaii Department of Transportation, 1,800 passengers spent the night in the airport after many of the island’s west-side routes remained closed.

Officials posted on X, formerly Twitter, that “HDOT worked with airlines/TSA to shelter passengers for safety’s sake as wildfires continue to burn in Lahaina and upcountry.”

Famous Lahaina Front Street burns down, destroying homes and forcing residents to flee

Residents have been “entering the ocean due to smoke and fire conditions,” according to county officials, and the Coast Guard has been reacting to those regions. Twelve individuals were saved from the waters outside Lahaina by a Coast Guard boat, according to reports on X, formerly Twitter.

Tiare Lawrence, a local of Lahaina, told Hawaii News Now that the situation resembled something from the end of the world, with people fleeing for their life. She claimed that everyone she knows in Lahaina has lost their homes.

It’s just so difficult. I’m currently in the Upcountry and am frustrated that I can’t contact any of my family. My younger brother’s whereabouts are still unknown to me. She said, “I don’t know where my stepdad is.

According to Front Street business owner Alan Dickar, there were burning structures on both sides of the street. According to Dickar, it seems like the fire department is overworked.

Dickar remarked, “Maui can’t handle this.” “Many others just lost their employment as a result of numerous business fires. Many folks had their homes destroyed. For Maui, this will be terrible.

According to Bissen, at least two residences in Kula were burned in the approximately 1,100-acre fire. According to him, 40 residences held 80 people who had to be evacuated.

For locals, the Red Cross has opened a number of temporary shelters. Martin reported that there were almost 1,200 persons in one evacuation site alone.

She asserted, “I’m positive they’re quite nervous at our evacuation centers.

Except for a fireman who suffered smoke inhalation while responding to the West Maui fire and was taken to a nearby hospital where he is in stable condition, Martin said there have been no reports of injuries.

In West Maui, many are without power, and 911 service is no longer available.

According to Poweroutage.us, more than 14,000 consumers in Maui county were without electricity. Travel along some of Honoapiilani Highway was once impeded by downed power wires, which county officials warned locals to stay at least 30 feet away from. To allow entry into and out of Lahaina, a portion of the highway was restored Tuesday evening. However, drivers were warned to expect delayed traffic on the bypass.

The 911 service is no longer available on West Maui. Martin claimed that because there is no mobile service and only landlines are operational in the area, managing evacuation orders has been “very difficult” in Lahaina.

According to Adam Weintraub, the director of communications for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, power outages, downed power lines, and traffic issues were also present on the island of Oahu, where Honolulu is situated.

The flames are being fed by powerful winds.

Wind speeds of 80 mph were seen in Kula, “which significantly impacted the speed and movement of the fire,” according to Martin.

Martin earlier told the Associated Press that the wind gusts prevented helicopters from dropping water on the fires from the air or measuring more precise fire sizes, and firefighters were running into roads that were obstructed by falling trees and power lines as they battled the inland fires.

The National conditions Service in Honolulu has issued a strong wind alert and a red flag warning for potentially severe fire conditions, both of which are anticipated to last until Wednesday.

The direction and location of the fire, along with the tough terrain, steep slopes, and dwindling humidity, made it challenging to estimate the fire’s path and speed, according to Maui fire officials. According to officials, the wind can also blow fire embers up and sparks downwind, starting fires that spread far from their origin.

“The fire can be a mile or more from your house, but in a minute or two, it can be at your house,” said Fire Assistant Chief Jeff Giesea. “Burning airborne materials can light fires a great distance away from the main body of fire.”

The Big Island is likewise engulfed in fire.

Officials from Hawaii County reported on Tuesday that they are keeping an eye on two brush fires in North and South Kohala. Power interruptions and evacuations were brought on by the fires.
According to a recent statement from the governor’s office, the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday granted the state’s request for a disaster declaration to help fight “the wind-whipped Kohala Ranch wildfire on the Big Island.”

According to officials, the fire, which started early on Tuesday, threatened 200 nearby homes, a volunteer fire department, nearby electrical transmission lines, and an AT&T cellular communications tower. The fire was uncontained and had already consumed more than 600 acres of land when a request for federal assistance was made.

According to a press statement, firefighters fighting that blaze as well as the two other out-of-control fires on the Big Island and Maui “have been hampered by the winds, which made it impossible to provide aircraft support for their efforts to contain the flames.”

“We’re trying to protect homes in the community,” Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth said of evacuating about 400 homes in four communities in the northern part of the island. As of Tuesday, the roof of one house caught on fire, he said.

According to county officials, there have been close to 100 firefighters on duty, including 11 from the state airport rescue team.

Follow hourlyusa.com on Google News.