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What Really Happened In Maui?
If you have been following the mainstream media’s coverage of the disaster in Maui you will know that a raging wildfire fueled by unprecedented heat and drought caused by manmade climate change just killed at least eighty people on that island. You will also know that this will be the fate of all of us if we do not start driving electric cars, building windmills in our yards, and eating plant-based meat.
In short, you will know nothing.
The actual records for the weather in Maui do not show record heat. They do not show record drought. They show that this year Maui is experiencing the same kind of weather it experiences every year. Yes, it is dry in Maui right now. It is the dry season there. It is dry this time of year – every year.
So, what did happen in Maui? Not manmade climate change. Manmade incompetence.
Maui has been denuded of agriculture at the same time that invasive grasses that burn readily have spread all over the island. That means that if a fire starts and the wind is blowing a wildfire can get out of control very quickly. The authorities have known that for a long time.
For that reason, Maui operates an outdoor siren system to warn residents of an approaching wildfire. There are 80 such sirens on the island. They are tested at least monthly. There is a website dedicated to the sirens and providing information to island residents about them. It says in part:
“Hawaii has the largest single integrated public safety outdoor siren warning system in the world.
The all-hazard siren system can be used for a variety of both natural and human-caused events; including tsunamis, hurricanes, dam breaches, flooding, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, terrorist threats, hazardous material incidents, and more.
The sirens output is 121 decibels and propagate with a manufacture radius of 3400ft. This range may vary due to environmental and surrounding physical conditions. The sirens are battery-powered and use a photovoltaic charging system.
The sirens are one part of the larger Hawaii Statewide Alert and Warning System (SAWS) which includes FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) which used both the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to alert the public.
When a siren tone is heard other than a scheduled test, tune into local Radio/TV/Cable stations for emergency information and instructions by official authorities. If you are in a low laying area near the coastline; evacuate to high grounds, inland, or vertically to the 4th floor and higher of a concrete building. Alerts may also come in form of a Wireless Emergency Alert.”
Keep in mind that days before the inferno on Maui the National Weather Service in Honolulu issued an actual “fire weather watch” for the state. "Strong and gusty winds, combined with low humidities...may lead to critical fire conditions across leeward areas over the coming days," the watch said. Authorities were in other words forewarned of the impending danger.
They apparently did nothing.
There is also now information coming out indicating the electric power company may share a great deal of blame for this tragedy. The exact cause of the wildfires that ultimately spread to developed areas is as yet unknown. One of the most frequent causes of such fires nationwide however is downed power lines. When taken down by high winds those lines often spark and when that happens in a field of dry grass the result is fire.
Power companies in many parts of the country have plans to shut down power during periods of high wind as a consequence. On Maui, the power company has no such plan. At the time the fires broke out on Maui the island was experiencing a period of high winds. Video clips widely distributed on the internet show power lines being blown down in multiple locations well in advance of the blaze.
So, we have an island that regularly turns into a tinder box this time of year, known sources of ignition all over the island, and a fire danger so extreme that the state operates a massive system of outdoor, battery-operated sirens to warn people of impending disaster, and now this tragedy is being billed as the unforeseen consequence of sudden climate change. Maybe that’s convenient for many people and it certainly fits a particular political agenda. That doesn’t make it true.
At least 80 people are dead in Maui. They weren’t killed by climate change. They were killed by incompetence. That’s what really happened in Maui.
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