The report highlights why escaping the inferno was exceptionally challenging and reveals errors made by authorities.
The fire’s rapid progression left little time for residents to react. U’i Kahue, a teacher of Hawaiian traditional crafts and a resident of Lahaina, described how the wind, destruction, and smoke engulfed her neighborhood. Despite her efforts to protect her house with a hose, it succumbed to the flames.
Lahaina, located on the northwest coast of Maui, holds a significant place in Hawaiian history and culture, making the tragedy even more profound. The town, with only two major escape routes – the Lahaina Bypass and the Honoapiʻilani Highway – faced a severe lack of evacuation options during the emergency.
As the fire reached the shoreline, some individuals abandoned their vehicles and sought refuge in the sea, the only place beyond the flames’ reach.
The investigation aims to shed light on the challenges faced by Lahaina residents and the authorities’ responses during the catastrophic wildfire.