People in Hawaii flee into the ocean to escape wildfire destroying historic Maui tourist town

August 10, 2023: On Wednesday, People in Hawaii flee into the ocean to escape the wildfire destroying historic Maui tourist town.

The Coast Guard saved people from the ocean near Lahaina, Maui, as they went into the water to escape a fast-moving fire, NBC News reported, and the historic downtown area surrounding Front Street was partly destroyed, according to Hawaii News Now and other reports.

Acting Gov. Sylvia Luke gave an emergency proclamation Tuesday that said the fires had burned “hundreds” of acres and forced several schools and roads to close. Luke authorized the Hawaii National Guard to aid authorities with disaster relief.

Luke footed in for Gov. Josh Green, who is traveling, but Green has been “fully briefed” on the situation, according to a release. Green will return to Hawaii on August 15.

The emergency proclamation said evacuations were underway in the Kohala Ranch, Kula, and Lahaina areas, as the fires threatened to affect the health and welfare of “a substantial number of persons.” The document said the disaster crisis relief period will continue through at least August 15.

“Lieutenant Governor Luke has my full support,” Green said in a release. “I think about the residents and businesses affected by Hurricane Dora.”

According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Dora was not expected to land in Hawaii and remained hundreds of miles south of the islands Wednesday. But the storm donated to strong winds that downed several trees and powerlines.

On Tuesday night, the Honolulu National Weather Service shared a post on X, formerly understood as Twitter telling residents to prepare for winds of 30 to 40 miles per hour and gusts up to 60 miles per hour.

“Secure property, expected outages & difficult travel,” the agency wrote.

The strong winds stalled firefighters and prevented helicopters from successfully leaving water onto the flames, County of Maui representative Mahina Martin told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

The American Red Cross posted on X that several shelters are open nationwide to help those impacted by the fires and winds.

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