"The Toxic Aftermath Of The Maui Fires Could Last For Years"

"Lahaina is plagued by hazardous debris, chemicals and undrinkable water. A big storm could worsen and spread the wildfire contamination."

"LAHAINA, Hawaii — This seaside town is a scene of charred devastation. Block after block of blackened wreckage and ash. Many of the homes and apartments, restaurants and bars, surf shops and art galleries that populated this historic Hawaiian community have burned down to their foundations.

Hulks of blackened cars are visible throughout the town. Gas stations and propane tanks exploded and boats caught fire in the harbor over the course of hours as the town burned, according to residents who escaped the flames. The raging inferno sent toxic fumes and material spewing throughout the town and into the sea, and whenever the next big storm hits, it will flush even more contamination into local waters.

In and around Lahaina, there is still a strong smell of smoldering debris and chemicals in the air. Some of it comes from the abandoned vans and cars, their wheels melted in puddles in the streets, as well as piles of twisted corrugated metal, scores of burned-out washing machines and melted weightlifting sets. ,,,

When fire consumes a community, it burns indiscriminately through products people need for everyday life — automobiles, home insulation, paint cans, plastics and pressure-treated wood. Those building materials contain lead, arsenic, asbestos and other dangerous chemicals that can go up in smoke and into lungs."

Joshua Partlow, Scott Wilson, and Dino Grandoni report for the Washington Post August 17, 2023.


"Hawaii Is Vowing To Protect Landowners On Maui From Being Pressured To Sell After Wildfires" (AP)

Source: Washington Post, 08/18/2023