Mazie Hirono Blames Maui Fire On Climate Change: ‘There Are Whole States’ Where You Can’t Talk About It
UNITED STATES - JULY 30: Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, attends the Senate Judiciary Committee markup on the Civil Justice for Victims of COVID Act, and judicial nominations in Russell Building on Thursday, July 30, 2020.
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) blamed climate change for the deadly fire that killed dozens of people in Hawaii last week, adding that those who don’t believe in it have a “head-in-the-sand attitude”.

Hirono made the remarks during a Sunday CNN interview with Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” after the fire in Maui last week killed at least 93 — a number that is expected to continue rising.

“I think that we very much need to acknowledge that climate change is upon us,” Hirono claimed. “There are whole states, by the way, Jake, where you can’t even use the words climate change because they still have a head-in-the-sand attitude.”

USA Today reported last week that “many scientists” say that the culprit behind the quadrupling of fires in Hawaii in recent decades is “unmanaged, nonnative grasslands planted by plantations and ranchers and others unfamiliar with the island’s native ecosystems. The grass is dry and prone to fires.”

“There is no doubt that fire-prone grasses have invaded drier Hawaiian ecosystems and brought larger, more intense fires,” said Peter Vitousek, a professor at Stanford University.

Officials are unsure of what sparked the fires but said that low humidity and high winds — fueled by a Category 4 hurricane south of the islands — greatly contributed to their rapid spread.

The report noted that the non-profit group Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization says on its website that “about 0.5% of Hawaii’s total land area burns each year, equal to or greater than the proportion burned of any other US state” and that “over 98% of wildfires are human-caused.”


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