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Maui Wildfires

Pine Gulch Fire. Night operations on the Pine Gulch Fire in Colorado. Original public domain image from Flickr

The Maui wildfire became a defining event in 2023 for its massive scale and intensity as it burned through Lahaina, a town on the northwest coast of Maui. Moreover, the Maui wildfire was named as the deadliest wildfire in modern US history.
So how did this historic wildfire start? Although there is some uncertainty, downed electrical power lines are most likely to blame for the origin of the fire on August 8, as they sparked some dry brush igniting the fire. This wildfire occurred during the height of Hawaii’s dry season which ranges on average from May to October. Maui was experiencing drought and humidity during the wildfire, fostering a suitable environment for a raging fire. Additionally, there were strong, 80 mph winds on that day which carried embers and flames to more dry vegetation, accelerating the spread and growth of the wildfire. There were both manmade and natural causes of this wildfire, all of which intersected to create the perfect storm for a raging wildfire.
This wildfire immediately ravaged Lahaina. The sparked brush grew in a matter of minutes into a raging firestorm that destroyed everything in its path. The fire burned cell towers and power lines, causing people to lose power and not be informed of the deadly fire nearby. The fire caused massive evacuations and killed at least 115 people with 66 missing through smoke, flames, or drowning. Firefighters had trouble containing the fire as it melted metal pipes delivering water. The fire burned over 2,200 acres of land and destroyed over 3,000 structures, resulting in upwards of 5.5 billion dollars in damages. What’s more financially burdensome is the time and money it will take the city to rebuild.
After a state of emergency was declared by Hawaii, global efforts successfully contained the wildfire. The historic fire left ruin and decimation to the city, environment, and state as a whole. The wildfire destroyed 80% of Lahaina, a historic port and resort city, along with its schools, churches, and museums. The displaced Maui residents have taken shelter in evacuation centers where they search for missing loved ones and plan for their futures.

If you would like to donate to Maui wildfire relief efforts, here is a link:


“Wildfire | Definition & Facts.” Encyclopedia Britannica,

Czachor, Emily Mae. “How Did the Maui Fire Start? What We Know about the Cause of the Lahaina Blaze – CBS News.”, 10 Aug. 2023,

“Maui Wildfire Recovery: Resources and Updates, Sept. 11 | Maui Now.” | Maui Wildfire Recovery: Resources and Updates, Sept. 11,

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