You may have heard about the Great Chicago Fire. It was a famous fire that burned down a large part of Chicago. You may have also heard about major fires recently in Canada, California, or Australia. This month, the island of Maui suffered a deadly wildfire. Maui is an island on the Hawaii archipelago (a group of islands) in the South Pacific Ocean. It is part of the United States even though it is far away from North America. The fire will go down in history as one of the worst ever in the United States.
Nobody knows how the fire started. We do know that the area was dry and windy. These weather conditions are perfect for creating fires that spread quickly. Maui has an Emergency Alert System (EAS). The EAS uses sirens, television, and text messages to warn people about danger. These warnings were not turned on.
On August 8th, Maui County warned people about the fire. People began to evacuate. The fire departments did not have enough firefighters. High winds made the fires hard to fight. Helicopters could not be used to drop sea water on the fires.
As a result, the fire was devastating. The city of Lahaina was destroyed. About 2,200 buildings have been destroyed. Over five and a half billion dollars of damage has been done. Over 11,000 people have been displaced (forced to leave the area). It will take a long time for Maui to recover.
What Can You Do? Thousands of people have lost their homes and businesses. Research the charities that are helping the people of Maui rebuild.
Photo Credit: US National Guard media by Master Sgt. Andrew Jackson/DVIDS