The wildfires that have been engulfing parts of the Hawaiian island of Maui since Tuesday, August 8, have killed at least 111 people in what is the deadliest US wildfire in more than a century. The blaze has destroyed more than 2,000 structures, forced residents to seek safety in the ocean, and prompted thousands of residents and tourists to evacuate. Maui County Police Chief John Pelletier estimated that over 1,000 people remain missing.
“We have suffered a terrible disaster,” Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said.
Wildfires were once rare on the Hawaiian Islands, largely ignited by volcanic eruptions and dry lightning strikes, but human activity in recent decades has made them more common and extreme. The average area burned each year in wildfires, which tend to start in grasslands, has increased roughly 400 percent in the last century, according to the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, a nonprofit group.
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