Unleashing Havoc: Deciphering the Enigmatic Origins Behind the Hawaii Wildfires 2023
Wildfires are not uncommon in Hawaii, but those that have recently occurred have been dubbed some of the worst in the history of the archipelago.Despite the fact that the cause of the tragic fires is still being investigated, their impact has been devastating.But the winds from the hurricane and the dry conditions contributed to the fires.Another factor was the widespread drought or unusually dry conditions in Hawaii, particularly on the whole island of Maui.
The US Drought Monitor estimates that 14% of the state is experiencing severe or moderate drought, while 80% of Hawaii is considered to be abnormally dry.The National Weather Service recorded brush fires in Maui last month and momentarily shut down a highway. “The risk of fires during this year’s dry season is elevated,” forecasters warned at the time.Scientists have also noted that non-native grasses that are more combustible than native plants are present in several areas of the Hawaiian islands.
This, along with dry circumstances, can lead to a spark lighting off a fire that can swiftly spread.Prior to the fires starting, Maui was also under red flag alert, which meant that an elevated chance of fire danger was anticipated due to rising temperatures, extremely low humidity levels, and stronger winds.Hurricane Dora’s powerful gusts, which passed by the coast of Hawaii on Tuesday, contributed to further fanning the flames.
Hawaii Governor Josh Green declared the flames to be the “largest natural disaster” in the history of the state during a press conference on Thursday.”We have never had a wildfire that affected a city like this before,” Mr. Green said, adding that Hawaii is experiencing a strain that has never previously been experienced due to the effects of climate change.In many different regions of the world, we are witnessing this for the first time, he remarked.
How heatwaves and wildfires are impacted by climate change
The last significant fire in Hawaii occurred in 2018, when Hurricane Lane’s winds fanned the flames near Lahaina, the same town this week’s fires have decimated.According to local media, the fire five years ago burned 21 structures, the majority of which were residences, 31 vehicles, and 2,000 acres of land.In the past, wildfires in Hawaii were not common; they were typically started by volcanic eruptions or lightning strikes. However, due to human activities, they have become more prevalent and extreme in recent years.
When are the Hawaii wildfires expected to end?
According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Dora, a category 4 storm 500 miles south of Hawaii, was a factor in the destructive winds over Maui. While it’s difficult to tell when exactly the fire will put out, analysts indicated that on August 9 and 10, “wind speeds will continue to trend lower” as the hurricane moves away from the island.The necessary steps are being taken to put out the fires in the interim. 11 firefighters from the state airport’s firefighting and rescue team are among the almost 100 Maui firefighters who have been on duty nonstop.
The Maui Fire Department requested an incident management team and 20 extra firemen from Honolulu on August 9.President Joe Biden made a proclamation that same day directing “all available Federal assets” to aid in putting out the Maui flames. Along with him, he extended his condolences to the impacted parties on behalf of his wife, Dr. Jill Biden.
“The Hawaiian National Guard has mobilized Chinook Helicopters to help with fire suppression and search and rescue on the Island of Maui. The U.S. Coast Guard and Navy Third Fleets are supporting response and rescue efforts. The Army is providing Black Hawk Helicopters to fight the fires on the Big Island,” the statement read in part.Plus, the Department of Transportation is “working with commercial airlines to evacuate tourists from Maui,” according to the statement, while the Department of the Interior and the United States Department of Agriculture “stand ready to support post fire recovery efforts.”