Now that the raging, freak wildfires that devastated parts of Maui have died down and rescue and recovery efforts continue, blame is already being passed around.
According to Breitbart, one top Hawaii state official has already been "reassigned" following the devastation to the island.
M. Kaleo Manuel, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) deputy director of water management, has been ruthlessly criticized by residents for not allowing the release of water that could have possibly mitigated much of the damage done by the fires.
Honolulu Civil Beat reported Wednesday that Manuel has been reassigned, though the DLR has also defended his conduct. Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez is currently investigating the fire as part of a review of the state’s response, or lack thereof.
Previous videos of Manuel making bizarre remarks about water have resurfaced, adding to the criticism and for those who further believe that his actions could have cost human lives.
Here is M. Kaleo Manuel, the Hawaii water official who refused to release water resources and let landowners fight the Maui fire, explaining his "philosophy" about water:
"Native Hawaiians treated water as one of the earthly manifestations of a god...We've become used to looking… pic.twitter.com/hjsWqdVtxf
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) August 17, 2023
The Hawaii Civil Beat noted:
With wildfires ravaging West Maui on Aug. 8, a state water official delayed the release of water that landowners wanted to help protect their property from fires. The water standoff played out over much of the day and the water didn’t come until too late.
According to the sources, Manuel wanted West Maui Land to get permission from a taro, or kalo, farm located downstream from the company’s property. Manuel eventually released water but not until after the fire had spread. It was not clear on Monday how much damage the fire did in the interim or whether homes were damaged.
Social media jumped on Manuel, with many suggesting that the blood of many of those who perished in the fire was on his hands, with some also calling for criminal charges as a result.
"He should be charged with manslaughter," one X user wrote.
Others noted that the increase of "woke" officials in critical roles has coincided with a number of recent disasters.
"As more and more people like this continue to fill roles that were traditionally based on merit. You will continue to see increasingly worse degradation in infrastructure. Many more train derailments and fires and chemical spills etc," one X user wrote.
As more and more people like this continue to fill roles that were traditionally based on merit. You will continue to see increasingly worse degradation in infrastructure.
Many more train derailments and fires and chemical spills etc.
— Chad (Tribute Otter Lord) (@Mywifeboyfriend) August 16, 2023
There are a number of additional investigations being opened as officials attempt to get to the bottom of what happened, and how it could have been better handled.
Manuel is most certainly not the first official to be reassigned, and some may be outright fired. Only time will tell.