As deadly wildfires rip through Hawaii this week, many are wondering whether the US state’s capital Honolulu is on fire.
55 are confirmed to have died and more deaths are expected after blazes were worsened by the strong winds of Hurricane Dora.
Is Honolulu on fire?
No, Honolulu is not on fire. The wildfires are in Maui, which is a completely separate island to Oahu, where Honolulu is located.
The state of Hawaii is made up of 137 islands, but there are eight main ones: Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau, and Kahoolawe.
Hawaii, often nicknamed ‘The Big Island’ is the largest of the eight and is made up of two famous volcanoes Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.
In August 2023, there are only fires in Maui, which is the second-largest island at 727 square miles with a population of around 170,000.
People are being evacuated to Hawaii’s other islands and Hawaiian Airlines is running $19 flights from Maui to Honolulu.
Wildfires devastate Maui
Fires are burning all over Maui but reached their worst in a town called Lahaina which is on the west coast of the island.
The flames appeared with almost no warning thanks to the strong winds and engulfed the whole area, which is a popular tourist resort.
Everything has been burned to ash, including houses, cars, buildings, restaurants, churches, historic buildings and more.
Hawaii Governor Josh Green told CNN more than 1,700 buildings and billions of dollars in property have been obliterated.
This includes the 122-year-old Pioneer Inn hotel, Mick Fleetwood’s restaurant and the famous banyan tree which is popular with tourists.
It’s the area’s deadliest natural disaster since a 1960 tsunami which killed 61 people and people are calling it ‘apocalyptic’.
Maui’s mayor gives update
Maui’s mayor Richard Bisson has spoken out about the “devastation, destruction and immeasurable loss” in an interview with NBC.
He said there has been “loss of life, historical places, properties and businesses” but is confident Lahaina can be rebuilt if communities come together.
The mayor called it an “impossible situation” as winds of up to 80 mph meant the fires “came up so quickly” and “spread so fast”.
Bisson sadly added that the number of deaths is likely to go up because the current figure only includes those who were found outside.
“We have not yet searched the interior of the buildings. We are waiting for FEMA to help with that search as they are equipped to handle the hazmat conditions of hazmat of the buildings that have been burnt,” he said.
He also confirmed the whole west side of Maui has no power, water or communication including internet and phone signal.
Their focus is on finding any missing persons and reuniting families.