Maui brushfires prompt evacuations close to the scene of the 115-death Lahaina inferno.

Maui brushfires prompt evacuations close to the scene of the 115-death Lahaina inferno.

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Following the deadly wildfires that wreaked havoc on Maui recently, new brushfires emerged on Saturday, prompting evacuations and further distress for local residents already grappling with rebuilding their lives. Hawaii Governor Josh Green issued an evacuation order for parts of Kaanapali, an area adjacent to Lahaina, where the previous wildfires had claimed 115 lives and left hundreds missing. The fire ignited around 12:45pm near the Kaanapali resort, where many Lahaina families were residing.

By 2:45pm, a Maui County alert reported that firefighters had managed to halt the fire’s advancement and that no additional threats or evacuation orders were in place. The affected region was close to where the prior wildfires had devastated a town, resulting in significant loss of life. The evacuation order was lifted at 5pm, as the fire was about 90 percent contained, and power was restored to the area by 7pm.

Despite no reported injuries or substantial damage from the new blaze, the situation triggered distress among residents. Many experienced distressing flashbacks and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the recent traumatic event. Lei Casco, who lost multiple properties in the earlier fire, expressed her anger over the disparity in emergency response this time compared to the inadequate response during the previous catastrophe.

Darryl Oliveira, the newly appointed interim director of the Maui Emergency Management Agency, led the weekend’s emergency response efforts. This change followed the resignation of his predecessor, Herman Andaya, who had faced criticism for not activating the county’s Civil Defense sirens during the initial blaze. The search for bodies extended to the ocean, with dive teams scouring waters for remains, given that many residents had sought refuge in the sea during the fires.

Maui County sued Hawaiian Electric Co. due to alleged negligence in failing to cut off power during the extreme winds and dry conditions that contributed to the fires. The utility responded by expressing disappointment in the legal action while investigations were still ongoing.

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