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11th Aug 2023

Former Xposé presenter tells of ‘pure devastation’ of wildfire blaze on Maui

Emily Mullen

The state of Hawaii has experienced some of the worst wildfires in its recent history

Following days of wildfires raging on the Hawaiian island of Maui, some Irish residents have taken to social media to share their experiences. Former TV3 presenter Peter O’Riordan has described the devastating scenes that have been inflicted on the island that he calls home.

O’Riordan who presented the popular Irish program from 2014-2016, before moving to the island to work as a partner on a successful valet business and a snorkelling & sailing catamaran tours company. A resident of the island for over six years, O’Riordan documented the “pure devastation” adding that “I do t know how we will proceed as a community. We have all lost everything [sic]”.

Sharing an image of a small backpack O’Riordan wrote, “This is now everything I own – my passport and green card were torched along with everything else,” in a separate tweet he added that “House gone, car gone, kids house gone, grandmas house gone, everyone out safe …….this is a living nightmare. Pray for us here on Maui”.

The wildfires are believed to have killed at least 55 people, with that figure expected to rise in the coming days. Officials estimated that the damage caused to the island, in particular, the seaside resort town of Lahaina, is expected to cost billions of dollars and to take several years to rebuild.

Hawaiian Governor Josh Green has described the blaze as the worst natural disaster in the state’s history, leaving thousands of residents homeless and destroying in excess of 1,000 buildings.

A fast-moving fire started which started in the outskirts of Lahaina on Tuesday (August 8th) and quickly spread to the historic city, once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom. This five was one of three major wildfires on Maui, which at the time of writing are still burning. These fires were fueled by strong winds of 60 mph (100 kph) and dry conditions with an ample supply of fuel.

Thousands of locals and tourists (of the nearly 2 million annual visitors to the islands) were evacuated from the western side of Maui, with some taking shelter in the neighbouring island of Oahu and the Kahului Airport, waiting for flights back home.

Images via PeterORIordan1/Twitter


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