President Joe Biden is considering a trip to Hawaii to witness firsthand the devastating aftermath of wildfires that have wreaked havoc on the island of Maui. The death toll has tragically reached 93, marking this as the deadliest American wildfire in over a century. As the President embarked on a bike ride near his Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, home, he briefly addressed reporters, acknowledging the possibility of visiting the disaster-stricken region.
While Biden expressed his intention to assess the wildfire’s destruction, logistical challenges have arisen. The emergency services are currently stretched thin, focusing on life-saving operations rather than providing additional support for a presidential visit. The fires have already consumed over 2,000 properties, causing an estimated $6 billion in damages.
Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii described the heartbreaking scene in Lahaina, where the town was razed and vehicles abandoned at the ocean’s edge as residents desperately sought refuge. She lamented the lack of early warning sirens and emphasized the need to combat these increasingly frequent and destructive wildfires.
Maui Police Chief John Pelletier highlighted the grim challenges faced by search and rescue teams. With cadaver dogs covering only a small portion of the search area, identifying victims has proven arduous due to the intense heat that has compromised remains. Efforts to mark buildings and vehicles with an “X” following initial assessments are underway, indicating the completion of initial checks.
This devastating wildfire outbreak has also led to comparisons with historical tragedies. The Lahaina fire’s death toll now surpasses that of the 2018 Camp Fire in California and rivals the 1918 Cloquet Fire in Minnesota. President Biden’s potential trip to Hawaii underscores the gravity of the situation and the need for swift action to address the growing threat of wildfires across the United States.