Hawaii welcomes millions of visitors on an annual basis thanks in no small part to the stunning beauty of the islands that comprise the state that’s located more than 2,000 miles away from the closest point on the American mainland.
While O‘ahu is the most popular of the major islands (thanks in no small part to the airport that serves as the state’s largest hub), a lot of people who’ve gotten the chance to tour the archipelago will tell you it’s worth going out of your way to visit Maui, which is home to a number of awe-inducing beaches, volcanos, and other natural wonders.
Sadly, the island has found itself thrust into an absolutely harrowing nightmare due to wildfires that have broken out in connection to Hurricane Dora, which has pelted Maui with strong winds that have helped fan the flames that have caused some catastrophic damage that has caused officials to declare a state of emergency.
WATCH: Drone footage shows devastation as smoke and fire blanket Maui pic.twitter.com/iRfUbB5d3X
— The Messenger (@TheMessenger) August 9, 2023
Wildfires are burning on the Hawaiian Island of Maui
Reports of people jumping into the water to escape flames and smoke pic.twitter.com/94bRuW7WXp
— Vision4theBlind (@Vision4theBlind) August 9, 2023
The blaze began to spread on Tuesday and quickly swept across a number of highly-populated areas—including Lahaina, which is the most populous town on Maui and draws in many of the tourists that visit the island.
Wildfire has engulfed businesses on Front Street in downtown Lahaina in West Maui, home to 12,000 people.
The Coast Guard is responding to people who were forced to go into the ocean due to the flames.
Video credit to Alan Dickar, a local resident of Lahaina. pic.twitter.com/8uiyHQP55B
— Colin McCarthy (@US_Stormwatch) August 9, 2023
This is Front Street, Lahaina on Maui. What was known as a popular tourist destination is currently turning to ash. My family, my friends and my small island community in turmoil, heartbreak and danger as the rest of us helplessly watch. video credit: Joyce C. pic.twitter.com/G7A52MMEYo
— jes (@jesadreamer) August 9, 2023
According to CBS News, the Coast Guard said it rescued more than a dozen people off the coast of the town who were forced to jump into the Pacific Ocean in order to avoid being caught in the path of the wildfire.
The outlet also reports thousands of people are without power, which has hampered rescue efforts that have also been impacted by the heavy winds that have prevented helicopters from taking to the air to assist the firefighters and National Guard members who are attempting to combat the blaze on the ground.
You can obviously only hope they’ll be able to extinguish it as soon as possible and that the people impacted will be able to get the support they need in an incredibly trying time.