This is a completely apocalyptic situation that is happening on the island of Maui in the American archipelago of Hawaii. Three active fires have ravaged the archipelago’s second-largest island, with the seaside town of Lahaina completely devastated and at least 36 people dead. How could such a situation arise in this humid archipelago located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?
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Hawaii is considered the most isolated archipelago in the world. However, its various islands are affected by fire almost every year, a natural phenomenon that has intensified in recent years. In 2018 and 2022, the island of Maui had already experienced major fires, but in August 2023 the fire took an explosive form within a few hours. and because of this coordinatorcoordinator Three main factors: Drought, invasive speciesinvasive species And thishurricanehurricane Dora.
About 30% of the archipelago is currently suffering from drought, including areas affected by the fires. This drought became more severe due to a change in conditions weather reportweather report In recent years, perhaps linked to global warming: the winds are stronger and drier.
Invasive and highly flammable plants have also been brought in by the inhabitants: a quarter of the archipelago is now covered with Guinea grass and Pennisetum.
when a storm rolls in
Another factor that caused the explosive spread of the flames: Hurricane Dora, located off Hawaii, didn’t need to make landfall for the results.
Winds from the storm get trapped between the two weather systems and help fan the flames.
But not only that, passing over the mountain range, the wind becomes even more powerful and drier: so Hurricane Dora in a way becomes a real fuel for the fire, even though it is more than 1,000 kilometers from the island !