Maui fires still rages; Lahaina is paradise lost

With fires still burning from Tuesday night, much of the Maui town of Lahaina has been consumed

Hurricane Dora fanned the flames that made firefighting impossible and caused 13 different mandatory evacuations. Most communications have been cut off.

The initial death toll is confirmed at six but is likely to rise. 2,100 people have reported to emergency shelters. 

"Wildfires that wiped out communities, wildfires that wiped out businesses," said acting Hawaii governor, Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke. 

We met the Kirkman's of Lahaina, at SFO, who were visiting the mainland. "If the house burned down, we have nothing. We have two cars, that’s it. And what we have right here," said the Kirkman's.

They are frantic to get home. "The whole town is gone. Front street, Lahaina Luna, we live right off of Lahaina Luna, we have a house and our dogs are stuck in the house. We don't know if our house is up. We don't know if our animals are alive or not, so we're heading back now," said the Kirkman's.

On Wednesday, at 10 a.m. local time, in the traveling governor's absence, Luke addressed the media regarding the fires still burning on Maui and the Big Island. First and foremost, she warned visitors away. 

"Today we signed another emergency proclamation which would discourage tourists from going to Maui. Even as early as this morning, planes were landing on Maui," said Luke.

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Two thousand people were stranded at Maui's Main Airport Tuesday night and 4,000 more are waiting on Wednesday. The Convention Center in Honolulu has been converted into a 4,000-bed shelter for displaced residents and stranded tourists.

The state of Hawaii's Emergency Declaration, limiting non-essential travel to Maui, have caused airlines to make it easier for travelers to make different plans.  

"Temporarily suspend the normal fare rules and give travelers the opportunity to reschedule their travel without paying any change fees without incurring any type of financial penalties," said San Francisco Airport spokesperson Doug Yakel.

Like the 2021 Paradise firestorm, this is a rapidly changing story that has many chapters to play out. In the end, it will prove that we are virtually powerless against increasingly changing climate conditions.


Maui wildfires leave one vacationing couple in tears

One couple was in tears at the Oakland airport trying to get back home to Maui see if their home was still standing and their pets still alive.