Maui Fires

By Adam Sarsfield

August 8, 2023, began as a normal day for the residents of Maui, Hawaii, until a raging inferno struck the town of Lahaina and began to spread across the island due to the high winds of the island state. Local politicians first believed that they had contained the fire shortly after the first reported sightings in the early morning of August 8. However, by mid-afternoon, the high winds of Maui caused the flame to spark again, which led to officials closing the bypass routes into the city. The fire then started to tear at the mostly wooden-built town until it reduced the town to ashes. Most of the containment measures were halted due to the high temperatures of the fire melting much of the metal piping that provided water to Lahaina. Due to down power lines and electric grids being destroyed, many residents of the town were unable to both call emergency services and receive messages regarding the fire, which left many of the town’s people caught by surprise. This surprise left many Lahaina residents having to flee within hundreds of feet from the fire, with nowhere to go, causing many to jump into the Pacific Ocean. As of September 6, the fires have been reported to be 100% contained however not fully extinguished as fires in some parts of northern Maui still remain ablaze. During the first days of the fires there were as many as 380 residents reported missing however as days went by many of the missing were either found or recovered. The current death count of the Maui fires remains at 115 confirmed with hundreds more still missing. 

In the following days of the outbreak, many federal agencies responded to cries of help by the residents with funding towards many relief efforts and emergency services. However many onlookers were outraged due to President Biden’s very slow response time to not only visit the island of Maui but also to address the tragedy in any regard. During a press conference Biden was quoted saying, “No comment” in regards to a question about the Maui fires; however, only days later Olivia Dalton, the White House principal press, stated, “He didn’t hear the question. He absolutely didn’t say ‘no comment’ in relation to Maui.” This pitiful response to Biden’s not addressing the tragic loss of life and destruction of property left many nay-sayers calling for a larger apology to the people of Maui. Adding onto this comment it also took President Biden two weeks to even step foot on the island. To counteract all of the negative press following the President’s comments the White House has been consistently reporting all of their support towards the rescue and rehabilitation efforts.