The wildfires sweeping across the Hawaiian island of Maui have killed 36 people and destroyed more than 270 structures, according to Maui County officials.
CNN is reporting that most of the western Maui community of Lahaina has been destroyed and hundreds of households have been displaced, with more than 2,100 people were in four emergency shelters in Maui. Cell service is out for thousands in Maui and more than 11,000 customers were without power as of this morning.
The Christian Science Monitor reported the fire consumed much of Maui’s historic Front Street, a popular site featuring retail stores, bars and restaurants. Front Street is part of the Lahaina Historic District, which encompasses more than 60 historic sites including the 200-year-old Wainee Church, where Hawaiian kings and queens were buried.
Richard Olsten, a helicopter pilot with tour operator Air Maui, stated, “All the places that are tourist areas, that are Hawaiian history, are gone, and that can’t be replaced. You can’t refurbish a building that’s just ashes now. It can’t be rebuilt – it’s gone forever. It’s a huge impact and blow on the history of Hawaii and Maui and Lahaina.”
Photo: Flyover view by the U.S. Civil Air Patrol showing damage to the West Maui town of Lahaina and harbor; courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.