Devastating wildfires are racing through Hawaii, including Maui's historic town of Lahaina today, seen in dramatic videos below (posted by The New York Times and Suepin).
The fires, blamed in part by high winds caused by Hurricane Dora, have injured some people, who have been flown to Oahu for medical treatment. Others were forced to flee into the ocean for safety, where the Coast Guard has rescued at least 12 so far. The Lahaina fire has devoured businesses along the heavily touristed Front Street, and people in Maui are either evacuating the affected areas or being told to shelter in place, depending on what part of the island they are in.
More than 1,000 people are in shelters set up outside of fire zones. "Do NOT go to Lahaina Town," the county tweeted.
From ABC News:
Traffic has been very heavy as people try to evacuate, and officials asked people who weren't in an evacuation area to shelter in place to avoid adding to the traffic, she said.
Crews on Maui were battling multiple blazes concentrated in two areas: the tourist destination of West Maui and an inland, mountainous region. In West Maui, 911 service was not available and residents were directed to call the police department directly.
The National Weather Service said Hurricane Dora, which was passing to the south of the island chain at a safe distance of 500 miles (805 kilometers), was partly to blame for gusts above 60 mph (97 kph) that knocked out power, rattled homes and grounded firefighting helicopters. The strong winds were expected to diminish later Wednesday, but there was little chance of rain to aid firefighters, the weather service said.
Burn patients have been flown to the island of Oahu, according to Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokesperson Shayne Enright. She couldn't confirm how many patients were flown in from Maui, but she said a woman in her 60s was transported to a Honolulu hospital burn center in critical condition. Authorities said earlier Wednesday that a firefighter in Maui was hospitalized in stable condition after inhaling smoke.
Acting Gov. Sylvia Luke issued an emergency proclamation on behalf of Gov. Josh Green, who is traveling, and activated the Hawaii National Guard to assist.
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