At Least 6 Dead in Hawaii Fires

Nonessential travel to Maui restricted
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2023 5:35 PM CDT
At Least 6 Dead in Hawaii Fires
In this photo provided by Brantin Stevens smokes from wildfires fills the air at Lahaina harbor on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023 in Hawaii.   (Brantin Stevens via AP)

The wildfires raging on Hawaii's second-largest island have killed at least six people and seriously injured several others, officials confirmed Wednesday. Maui Mayor Richard Blissen said at a press conference Wednesday that he didn't know where on the island the six had died. He said the injured people include a firefighter who was taken to Oahu in stable condition, the New York Times reports. "We are still in a search and rescue mode," Blissen said. Speedy Bailey, regional director for Hawaii Life Flight, said six patients were taken to Oahu by the air ambulance service, including three people with critical burns who were taken to a Honolulu hospital's burn unit, reports the AP.

Bailey said at least 20 people were taken to Maui's main hospital. The wildfires ripped through parts of Maui that so quickly that some people had to jump in the ocean to escape. The Coast Guard says it rescued 14 people near the tourist town of Lahaina, including two young children. Thousands of people spent the night in emergency shelters. Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke has signed an emergency proclamation restricting nonessential travel to Maui, the Times reports. "As of this morning, planes were landing on Maui with tourists. This is not a safe place to be," she said Wednesday. "We have shelters that are overrun."

Officials say much of Lahaina has been destroyed. Fires are also burning on Hawaii's Big Island, but no deaths or serious injuries have been reported. Blissen said Wednesday that Maui fires are still uncontained, but the high winds that made it impossible for helicopters to take off—and fanned the flames Tuesday night—have subsided, NBC News reports. "It was not safe for them to do water drops. Apparently as of this morning that situation has improved," he said. (More Hawaii stories.)

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