The Maui wildfires...

Mike Stafford

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Coastal plain of North Carolina
I guess we get used to thinking of Hawaii as a paradise without troubles. Most of the time that is the case. Occasionally we will read about or hear about a volcano being ugly or a tropical cyclone doing its thing. Wildfires in Hawaii is something I don't think I have ever heard about before.

You don't think about wildfires in Hawaii. The current death toll is over 90 I believe in Maui. It is a terrible thing to think about losing your loved ones in any manner but to me burning is one of the worst ways to go.

My prayers go out to the families and to the courageous men and women trying to fight these fires and save lives.
 
Currently missing count is over 1,100. Estimated deaths are over 400-500. They hit 86 without even searching any buildings and are just barely starting to look there this weekend. Completely devastating for a town of maybe 9,000 permanent residence (counting some not entirely registered folks). I spent quite a bit of time there when we lived just around the corner a ways and know a lot of folks in the area still. This one hits pretty close to home. Kihei was really lucky this round as well, there was another very large (even larger than Lahaina) brush fire that got right to the edge of town there, I think a couple houses were lost in Kula area but that could have been much much worse. I know a fair number of folks in Kihei who have Lahaina refugees living with them now, I can't even imagine if both towns had gotten hit.

Here are some fairly well vetted local charities that are known to pass along help directly to people who need it.
 
I was based at Camp Smith on Oahu right after Nam. Never heard of a surface wildfire while there. But, underground peat fires, YES! They can be bad news. Someone camping or whatever not paying any attention would build a fire and catch the peat under it on fire. Those peat fire travel underground which are bad news.
 
I was based at Camp Smith on Oahu right after Nam. Never heard of a surface wildfire while there. But, underground peat fires, YES! They can be bad news. Someone camping or whatever not paying any attention would build a fire and catch the peat under it on fire. Those peat fire travel underground which are bad news.
One news story I heard indicated that the fires were made worse by efforts to control soil erosion. Apparently they imported a non-indigenous plant that was very hardy to control erosion of the meager soil levels in parts of the island. It worked great but it burns like gasoline when it catches fire.

I haven't heard that story again so I cannot be sure of its accuracy.

We have peat fires here in North Carolina. East of me are vast swamp lands filled with great quantities of peat. Lightning strikes set the peat afire and these fires have been known to burn underground for years. Sometimes the only thing that puts them out are the rains from a tropical storm or hurricane. When they are burning and the wind blows to the west the smell is quite horrible.
 
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