President Joe Biden approve a disaster declaration for Hawaii on Thursday as massive wildfires killed dozens and destroyed the city of Lahaina in Maui.
The White House announced, "Today, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Hawaii and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by wildfires beginning on August 8, 2023, and continuing."
The order will also provide funds to those who were impacted by this disaster.
At least 53 individuals were killed by the fire and it is possible that number could rise in the aftermath of this terrifying incident.
One Twitter user posted a video from Lahaina saying that "Lahaina Maui looks like a war zone."
Hawaii Governor Josh Green told the media, “Lahaina, with a few rare exceptions, has been burned down."
Photos and videos from the site show the unprecedented destruction as entire city blocks were burned to the ground leaving the once vibrant coastal city flattened.
Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) issued a statement saying, "Recovering from these devastating fires will take significant time and resources, and we need all the federal support we can get. [The declaration will] unlock federal resources and help our state and county governments respond to and recover from these fires and help the people of Maui and Hawai’i Island."
The exact cause of the fire hasn't been determined but strong winds and a dry summer combined to create the perfect storm for a deadly fire.
This was the deadliest U.S. wildfire since the 2018 Camp Fire in California, which destroyed the town of Paradise and killed 85 people.
Adam Weintraub, a spokesperson for Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, stated that "We are still in life preservation mode. Search and rescue is still a primary concern."
The fire moved so quickly that many people didn't have time to grab anything and had to flee with nothing but the clothes on their back. The utter destruction and inability to rescue things means that there will be incredible costs from this fire.
Some were even forced to flee into the ocean and the Coast Guard rescued multiple individuals who had run into the water to escape the rampaging blaze.
Americans ought to keep the people of Lahaina in their prayers as they pick up the pieces and try to recover from this disaster that claimed so many lives.