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Wildfires Engulf Maui Leading to 36 Deaths and Thousands of Evacuations

Maui’s fire rescue teams continue to battle wildfires, as the island has requested aid from Honolulu for more resources. 

Being called one of the “deadliest U.S. wildfires in years,” it was impossible to predict when – and where – the fires would spread. The fires began on Tuesday night, due in part to the aggressive winds from Hurricane Dora passing through. As the hurricane moves further away, the wind speeds have decreased and CNN reports that the red flag warnings are no longer in effect across the island.

The current death toll from the wildfires is 36 people, leaving others injured and many evacuating their homes. Many airlines are discouraging nonessential travel to Maui and offering free changes and cancellations to flights for their own safety.

A large number of fires have hit historic Lahaina Town, a city that has stood in Hawaii since the 1700s. County officials are concerned about the toll the fires have had on Front Street, a popular area for tourists with a number of shops and restaurants. In a statement made to AP news, Richard Olsten, a local helicopter pilot said, “All of the places that are tourist areas, that are Hawaiian history, are gone, and that can’t be replaced.”

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