The Student News Site of Beverly Hills High School

Highlights

The Student News Site of Beverly Hills High School

Highlights

Highlights

Follow Us on Twitter
Follow Us on Twitter

Tropical tragedy: Lahaina fires

The+Maui+Fires+caused+major+destruction+in+Lahaina.+%0APhoto+from%3A+Mike+Blake+%7C+Reuters
The Maui Fires caused major destruction in Lahaina. Photo from: Mike Blake | Reuters

AUG 8– An outbreak of large brush fires began on Hawaii’s Maui island. One fire devastated the resort town of Lahaina. With a death toll at a staggering 115 people, it became the deadliest wildfire in American history. 

Questions remain regarding the cause of the fires, and the worst natural disaster ever to hit Hawaii. Many think category 4 Hurricane Dora, which passed well to the south of the islands, 

pushed the fires.


Some meteorologists, however, are debunking the falsehoods being spread about hurricane Dora’s impact. 

Story continues below advertisement

 

Meteorologist Philippe Papin with the National Hurricane Center stated, “Dora was a strong hurricane as it moved [south] of Hawaii, but it had a small wind field. Thus, net impact is nearly negligible on [low level winds].”

 

Essentially, Hurricane Dora did strengthen pressure gradients —which increase wind— but only due to its proximity to a large high pressure system. The combination of those factors led to a strong swath of wind across the Hawaiian Islands. So yes, Dora played a role; but no, it was not the sole cause of the existence of such ripe conditions. 

 

Days before the fires, the National Weather Service in Honolulu forecasted weather conditions that would support significant fire potential, thus they issued a red flag warning. The overlap of 60 mph winds and extreme drought was enough to drive a fire to spread rapidly. However, what sparked the fire still remains unknown. 

 

The most destructive fire was located on the western tip of Maui. It burned over 2,000 acres, including the vast majority of Lahaina, a popular resort town and historical landmark.  Some of the residents fled into the ocean to avoid the rapidly approaching flames, which at one point spread as fast as a mile a minute, according to Governor Josh Green. 

 

Though the fire is now 90% contained, local and state officials urge tourists to avoid traveling to the region, as recovery and relief efforts are still underway. 

 

Hawaii’s lieutenant governor, Sylvia Luke, told the public in an interview with the Today Show that, “If [they] have travel plans to Maui, we ask that [they] postpone it or cancel it.” 

 

Relief efforts go far beyond local and state support, as President Biden approved a federal disaster declaration last week.

Biden stated that “Anyone who lost a loved one, whose home has been damaged or destroyed, will get help immediately” and is working with FEMA  (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to ensure survivors get access to federal assistance.   

Some companies, like Southwest Airlines, are also doing what they can following the wildfires. The company said their “heart is with Hawaii” and offered additional flights to bring people out of Hawaii and keep supplies moving in.

 

Though the road to recovery will be long, the sight of courage and community is easily found in these difficult times.

 

 

Leave a Comment
Donate to Highlights
$0
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Beverly Hills High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Justin Greenberg, Staff Writer
Hello! I’m Justin and I'm a junior, class of 2025. I’m super into politics, and love writing/talking about it. I have a youtube channel for politics and upload frequently. I also have some knowledge in the field of weather and am always down to discuss that!
Donate to Highlights
$0
$1000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Highlights Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *