Residents in Lahaina neighborhoods on Maui were forced to evacuate on Saturday due to a brush fire that broke out in the area. This comes just weeks after a devastating blaze destroyed downtown Lahaina, killing at least 115 people and causing significant damage to structures. The fire is said to be a few miles away from the previous site of destruction.
The evacuation order was issued by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, targeting the area around Anapuni Loop. The fire department later reported that they were able to stop the fire from spreading further. The exact number of residents affected by the evacuation is still unclear.
Hawaii Authorities Issue Lahaina Evacuation Order After New Brush Fire Breaks Out Near Site of Deadly Blaze…..https://t.co/jx1rJcYyRK
— 🇺🇸🇺🇸Josh Dunlap🇺🇲🇺🇲 ULTRA-MAGA (@JDunlap1974) August 27, 2023
Reports from the Associated Press suggest that the initial stages of the fire were fueled by power poles that had fallen due to high winds, causing live wires to come into contact with dry grass. These wires were found to be uninsulated, making them susceptible to sparking and igniting fires. In addition, Google Street View images revealed that these power poles had been left unprotected by Hawaiian Electric Co.
It seems that the utility company failed to update its aging wooden power poles, many of which were in a state of disrepair and unable to withstand strong winds. The company admitted in a filing that these poles posed a serious hazard. However, they attempted to shift the blame to climate change without addressing the issue of bare, uninsulated wires.
Jennifer Potter, a former member of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission, confirmed that many of Maui’s power poles were in poor condition. It is clear that the infrastructure was not strong enough to withstand the fire and windstorm, putting residents at unnecessary risk.
It is an unfortunate situation that could have been prevented with proper maintenance and investment in the electrical grid. This case highlights the importance of responsible management and preparation for natural disasters. A lawsuit led by attorney John Morgan against Hawaiian Electric may bring attention to the company’s negligence and hold them accountable for this preventable disaster.