Fire Engulfs Historic Hawaiian Town, People Forced To Jump Into Ocean To Escape Flames
Screenshot: CBS News

A massive fire, fueled by strong winds from a nearby hurricane, has engulfed the historic Hawaiian town of Lahaina on the island of Maui.

Hawaii Governor Josh Green was out of the state on vacation but has since changed his plans and will be back tonight to address the crisis.

“The wind-fueled fires have devastated many of our communities and people will be looking to our office for leadership while we address the ongoing emergency and do what we can as a state to rebuild lives,” said Green. “We have suffered a terrible disaster in the form of a wildfire that has spread widely as a result of hurricane-force winds in the region and underlying drought conditions. Maui and the Big Island both experienced significant fires. Much of Lāhainā on Maui has been destroyed and hundreds of local families have been displaced.”

The fires were fueled by Hurricane Dora, a Category 4 storm, that passed to the south of the state.

“Heroic efforts by first responders have prevented many casualties from occurring, but some loss of life is expected,” he added. “Our entire emergency response team, including the Hawai‘i National Guard has mobilized and is being supported by FEMA. We have named Adjutant General Ken Hara as our state incident commander. He was my partner in Hawai‘i’s successful COVID response.”

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued residents who were forced to jump into the ocean to save themselves from the massive blaze.

All of the Hawaiian islands are under a red flag warning due to “strong winds and low humidity,” which are prime conditions for wildfires, according to the National Weather Service.

“Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly,” the agency said. “Outdoor burning is not recommended.”

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