The death toll from fires on the Hawaiian island of Maui is nearing 100, authorities announced earlier today.
There are three fires raging across Maui, largely in the western and central parts of the island. U.S. President Joe Biden declared a major disaster following the fires.
Firefighting efforts continue across Maui. Authorities say one of the fires is 85% contained. Another is 60%, with a third fire entirely contained.
What fuelled the Maui fires?
Strong winds from Hurricane Dora fuelled the Maui fires. Dora was a major hurricane that passed south of Hawai’i in the Pacific Ocean.
It formed sustained winds at 233km/h and gusts over 273km/h. It also created strong swells, resulting in rough currents around Hawai’i.
Over 2,000 people were evacuated from their homes, and a donation register has been opened for residents impacted by the fires.
Hawai’i Governor Josh Green said it was “likely the largest natural disaster in Hawai’i state history”.
“All of us will have a loved one here on Maui that we know of that lost a house, that lost a friend.”
Fires have plagued the Northern Hemisphere this summer. This includes parts of Europe and North America, such as Greece and Canada.
The UN’s World Meteorological Organisation has said the weather events are a result of global warming, and that extreme temperatures will become increasingly common.