(UnitedVoice.com) – Maui is one of the most beautiful islands in Hawaii. Wildfires are currently ravaging the island, burning historic structures and natural landmarks. Worse, the death toll keeps ticking up.
On Tuesday, August 8, a massive wildfire broke out on the island. The historic town of Lahaina, the most popular tourist destination, was destroyed by the largest of several fires on Maui. As of Friday morning, more than 50 people were confirmed dead, and the Lahaina fire was about 80% contained.
The town dates back to the 1700s. It’s the biggest community on the island’s west side and is home to many landmarks. Lahaina was once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom and has been a National Historic Landmark for more than 60 years. One of the largest banyan trees in America sits on the town’s historic Front Street. The wildfire burned the 150-year-old tree and damaged it. However, it’s still standing.
The Waiola Church, established by missionaries in the 1820s, was destroyed. The church just celebrated its 200th anniversary. The Baldwin House Museum was also destroyed in the blaze. The home, built in the 1830s, is believed to be the oldest on the island.
Thousands of residents on the island were forced to flee their homes as strong winds pushed the fire toward them. The Coast Guard rescued some 50 people from the water after they jumped into the ocean to save themselves from the fire. Cadaver dogs are walking through the ruins, looking for more bodies.
The West side of the island is completely without power, water, or phone services. Visitors are being told to stay away from Maui. Hawaii Lt Governor Sylvia Luke told the press that their resources “are being taxed” and the island “is not a safe place to be.”
Firefighters are still trying to put out active fires on the island. There are also fires burning on the Big Island. Residents of the island described it as “an apocalypse.”
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