Local emergency management officials confirmed on August 10 (US time) that the warning system on the island of Hawaii had not been activated prior to the devastating wildfires on the island of Maui. To date, 55 people have died and the resort town of Lahaina has been reduced to ashes.
Hawaii previously claimed the largest outdoor public safety warning system in the world, capable of giving warnings for all hazards. In total, about 400 sirens were deployed throughout Hawaii.
However, at the evacuation points, many people in Lahaina town who were lucky enough to survive said they did not hear any sirens and only realized they had seen flames or heard explosions nearby.
“I didn’t know anything about the fire until I smelled smoke,” said Thomas Leonard, 70, of Lahaina City. AP,
The fire destroyed the Waiola Church, the first Catholic church on the island of Maui, in the town of Lahaina. Photo: AP
Debris from a wildfire disaster in the resort town of Lahaina in the United States state of Hawaii. Photo: AP
On the day of the disaster (August 8, US time) both main power and cell phone reception were out, preventing the town of Lahaina from receiving real-time information about the threat.
Thomas Leonard said, “I tried to run out of town in my jeep, but had to abandon the vehicle when surrounding cars exploded. I hid for hours behind a wall of water, blown by the wind and hot ash.” Was flying. Terrible.”
Firefighters eventually arrived to pull Thomas Leonard and the other survivors to safety from the flames.
A spokeswoman for the agency said, “The sirens did not sound on the island of Maui on the day of the disaster. Instead, we used emergency alerts sent to mobile phones, television and radio.” Hawaii Emergency Management explained by Adam Weintraub AP On 10/8
It is not clear whether the warnings were sent before or after the power outage on the island of Maui and the loss of cell phone connectivity with most customers in the city of Lahaina.
The first wildfires in Hawaii began to appear on the night of August 8. The National Weather Service (NWS) previously issued warnings for Hawaii because the hot, dry region and strong winds are ideal conditions for wildfires.
The wildfire also destroyed a boat at sea in Lahaina. Photo: AP
Hawaii Island – Several cars burned due to wildfire disaster in the United States. Photo: AP
Thousands of tourists leave the island where a terrible forest fire broke out. Photo: Reuters
Hot, dry weather and winds from Hurricane Dora caused wildfires to spread across the island of Maui. Terrible fire consumed everything, especially in the resort town of Lahaina.
Evacuated Lahaina resident Mason Jarvie said, “The whole of Lahaina burned down, like the end of the world.”
The wildfire is considered Hawaii’s deadliest natural disaster since the 1960 tsunami that killed 61 people.
Hawaii Governor Josh Greene and Maui Mayor Richard Bissen toured the scene of the wildfires, saying, “With rare exceptions, much of the city of Lahaina has burned out.”
It is the deadliest wildfire in the US since a 2018 fire that killed 85 people and devastated the California town of Paradise.
Some photos of the wildfire disaster in the city of Lahaina. Photo: Reuters