Satellite imagery has documented the extensive destruction caused by a wildfire that swept through Lahaina, a popular tourist spot on Maui’s western coast and the historical capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii. The images, captured by Maxar Technologies, reveal the grim aftermath of the blaze, which ravaged significant portions of the area.
One striking image displays the once-charming Banyan Court, where the island’s oldest living banyan tree, aged 150 years, stood. Now, it appears that much of this historic area has been reduced to ashes. Similar devastation is apparent in other parts of Lahaina, including Lahaina Square, a bustling shopping district, and a neighborhood situated on the southern edge of the town, which is home to around 12,700 residents.
Tragically, the wildfires that have engulfed the island have claimed the lives of at least 36 individuals, as confirmed by officials on Thursday. The county released a statement acknowledging “widespread damage to the West Maui town, the harbor, and surrounding areas.”
Tiare Lawrence, a Lahaina resident, shared her heartbreaking experience, revealing that the entire community has been deeply affected, with many losing their homes. She expressed concern for the whereabouts of her little brother and stepdad, as the fires have caused disarray and uncertainty.
These fires have not only impacted Maui but have also struck the island of Hawaii. The ferocity of the fires has been exacerbated by the powerful and unpredictable winds emanating from a Category 4 hurricane.
Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke, temporarily in charge as the governor returns from a trip, emphasized the long road to recovery, stating that the process of fully assessing and addressing the extensive damage could extend for weeks or even months. The gravity of the situation underscores the challenging journey that lies ahead for the affected communities.