The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

The Official Student Newspaper of Tarleton State University since 1919

the JTAC

Space race 2.0 OR “India is on the Moon”

India’s recent moon landing success
Photo+courtesy+of+The+Niagara+Gazette+%28https%3A%2F%2Fwww.niagara-gazette.com%2F%29
Photo courtesy of The Niagara Gazette (https://www.niagara-gazette.com/)

Hawaii is usually the place you think about when planning your next vacation- wanting to get away from tall buildings, cars, and the bustle of life. Hawaii is a beautiful place to relax and connect with the beauty of nature, beaches and wildlife, mild temperatures, and unique traditions. You can go to the beach with your friends and family, and enjoy unique fresh food prepared by the locals.

But right now, Hawaii is dealing with the worst natural disaster in state history. Surprisingly, the enduring of tsunami’s, hurricanes, and harsh winds are not the cause of such a calamity. Within the month of August, four large wildfires struck in Western Maui, one of the major islands making up the archipelago. 

Since Hawaii is located so close to the equator, it only has two major seasons. Both seasons are warm, but are correlated with the dry season from early April to October, and the rainy season from November to March. Maui is in its dry season, and experiencing a moderate drought due to increased tourism. Maui’s water sources rely on four major streams that travel from the Western Maui Mountains to Central Maui.

Unfortunately, due to a malfunction in shutting off the power lines as hurricane winds hit from Hurricane Idalia, struck a spark that scorched 10.4 square miles. The first fire started on August 8 due to their power lines enduring 67 mph winds. Although it is uncertain as to what caused the other three wildfires, Maui officials suggest that the combination with the moderate drought, dry vegetation and strong winds causes an increase in the risk of wildfires. 

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This is the biggest natural disaster within state history. With three of the four fires still actively burning, there is no way to predict the damage that will affect Hawaii’s towns and cities. 115 people have passed away, and Maui officials state this number could rise as relief efforts increase to find the remaining 300 people unaccounted for. 

The damages are astronomical. It is hard to imagine the damage that Hawaii has sustained, with approximately 2170 acres being burned, each acre around the size of a football field. Almost $5.5 billion damages have been sustained to Lahaini, Western Maui, and Kula. To help cover the damages, President Biden announced that $95 million will be given to Maui through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help aid the reconstruction following the deadly wildfires. 

Although towns, buildings, and homes have been raised to the ground as natives are forced to evacuate their homes and livelihood, a major miscommunication occurred during this disaster. The head of the Maui Emergency Management Agency refused to use their extensive emergency siren system to warn people of the incoming fires. These systems are only used incase of tsunamis, and he feared the sirens would force people to flee inland, towards the flames. 

This, coupled with a limited water supply to help quell the fires and emergency routes blocked by cars, have gained harsh criticism from the locals. The warning system they used had sent out messages through smartphone alerts and TV/radio broadcasting. Unfortunately, it is unclear when they sent these messages, as the power and cell service had gone out earlier that day, leaving the residents of Lahaina unaware of the nearing dangers. Locals only truly realized they were in danger when they saw the flames or heard exploding cars nearby.

This is truly a tragedy in the history of Hawaii. With three of the four major fires still actively burning, we can only hope that the flames will soon die off as brave firefighters and first responders actively deal with this disaster. Even though destruction has hit hard and devastated many, states such as California, Washington, and Indiana are sending first responders to help. As we carry Hawaii in our hearts, we can only hope it ends soon.

For more information regarding these fires, go to www.britannica.com/event/Maui-wildfires-of-2023 or you can check out www.civilbeat.org/2023/08/mauis-top-emergency-officials-were-off-island-as-wildfires-hit-lahaina/.

If you want to help support and aid Hawaii, you can visit Hawaii Wildfires on redcross.org to make donations, start fundraisers, or volunteer. 



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Campbell Burnett, Content Editor

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