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Saturday, August 12, 2023
Tokuda: Hawaii Emergency Planners 'underestimated the lethality, the quickness of fire'
By Video @ 8:24 PM :: 2515 Views :: Maui County, Congressional Delegation, Hawaii State Government

Tokuda admits they 'underestimated the lethality, the quickness of fire' in Maui Hawaii on CNN

UKDM: … Dem Hawaii Rep. Jill Tokuda, admitted on Saturday morning in an interview with CNN that the state had 'underestimated the lethality, the quickness of fire.'

She said no plan was put in place for potential failures in its emergency alert system which is typically received on cell phones. There was no cell phone coverage in the area at the time. 

'It's not like hurricane force winds are unknown to Hawaii, or dry brush, or red flag conditions,' she said….

G: Hawaii congresswoman says state underestimated lethality of wildfires | Hawaii fires | The Guardian

read … Tokuda admits they 'underestimated the lethality, the quickness of fire' in Maui Hawaii on CNN

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Hawaii underestimated the deadly threat of wildfire, records show

CNN: … When Hawaii officials released a report last year ranking the natural disasters most likely to threaten state residents, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic hazards featured prominently. Near the bottom of a color-coded chart, the state emergency management agency described the risk of wildfires to human life with a single word: “low.”

A year and a half later, the catastrophic fires that engulfed Maui and the historic town of Lahaina this week have already become the state’s deadliest natural disaster in more than six decades, with a fatality count of at least 80.

Hawaii officials underestimated the deadly threat of wildfires even as they acknowledged a lack of necessary resources to mitigate them, according to a CNN review of state and local emergency planning documents that show how ill-prepared the state was for the disaster.

One Maui County report on wildfire prevention from 2021 stated that while the number of acres consumed by wildfires had spiked, funds to prevent and mitigate them were “inadequate.” The report also stated that the county fire department’s strategic plan included “nothing about what can and should be done to prevent fires” – in what it called a “significant oversight.”

The report recommended a thorough risk assessment of fire hazards, but it’s not clear whether officials heeded the recommendation.

Other reports over the past five years show authorities knew the risk of fires was increasing and could be exacerbated by hurricane-force winds – like the Lahaina blaze was. “Fires occurring as a result of and concurrent with another major threat or disaster, such as a hurricane, are particularly challenging,” one report stated, with first responders and firefighters stretched to capacity. During this week’s fires, Hurricane Dora was hundreds of miles south of Maui, but the storm’s winds still fanned flames on the island.

The state emergency management agency’s public resources webpage also lays out clear, bullet-point recommendations of what residents should do in the event of a hurricane, tsunami, flash flood or earthquake. At the bottom of the page, the agency includes two short paragraphs about wildfires – with no similar advice on ways to stay safe.

read … Hawaii underestimated the deadly threat of wildfire, records show

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AP: In deadly Maui wildfires, communication failed. Chaos overtook Lahaina along with the flames | AP News

LAT:Failed communication and huge death toll in Maui fires - Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)

TW: Hawaii reportedly downplayed threat of wildfires for years prior to Maui blaze (theweek.com)


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