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WINGSPAN

The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas

WINGSPAN

The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas

WINGSPAN

Wildfires in Maui hit home for some Redhawks

Although+wildfires+in+Hawaii+are+more+than+3%2C000+miles+away%2C+the+impact+is+felt+on+campus+by+Redhawks.
Maxar Data, https://maxar.com/open-data/maui-hawaii-fires
Although wildfires in Hawaii are more than 3,000 miles away, the impact is felt on campus by Redhawks.

Smoldering embers and charred ashes are all that remains across parts of Maui due to wildfires ravaging the island for over a week.

Although the fires are occurring more than 3000 miles away, the news hits close to home for some Redhawks such as senior Makena Walsh. 

“Our close family lives on the island of O’ahu, Hawaii and we visit them annually,” Walsh said. “We are so close to them so having Sunday dinners and local food is so special to me.”

Walsh’s cousin, Cody Tsushako, lives on the island of O’ahu, and his community has felt the impact of the fires deeply.

“Lots and lots of people here on O’ahu have family that was living in Lahaina and some are distraught trying to contact them if they’re alive or not because phone connection is still down there I believe,” Tsushako said. “Along with the fact that O’ahu and Maui have a tight knit relationship, so lots of people here are hurting.”

Along with the fact that O’ahu and Maui have a tight knit relationship, so lots of people here are hurting,

— O'ahu resident, Cody Tsushako

Unable to do much thousands of miles away, Walsh still feels the impact of the news from home.

“My heart aches for the families that have been affected by the fires, all of the missing people and a lot of the island being ash,” Walsh said. “I hurt for all of the homes and memorable staples that are no longer standing after all the years of building Maui.

One of many well-known restaurants on the island, Fleetwoods, was a favorite of Redhawk parent Fritz Ward.

“We visited Fleetwoods on Front St. in Lahaina, Hawaii during March of 2020 because I heard it was a nice restaurant along the water to eat,” Ward said. “It was intriguing that the restaurant was owned by the drummer of Fleetwood Mac. We had always talked about going back when we visit Maui again.”

Burnt down due to the fires, the story of Fleetwoods mimics many others, with nearly 3,000 structures burned in the city of Lahaina.

“It’s not just about the restaurant, it’s difficult to hear about the whole region and the families and the workers being affected,” Ward said. 

The buildings on the islands are not alone in facing damage, as the fires have destroyed many historic landmarks.

“It was terrible hearing that sacred indigenous sites have been destroyed as they hold many importance to the people of Hawaii,” O’ahu resident Grace Jeong said.

Although the wildfires haven’t directly impacted Jeong, she felt the impact of another natural disaster that recently hit the area.   

People in O’ahu have really put in their care and are continuing donations for Maui and the people there,

— O'ahu resident, Grace Jeong

“People in O’ahu have really put in their care and are continuing donations for Maui and the people there,” she said. “The fires did not exactly impact my daily life, however Hurricane Dora did due to the high winds which led to power outages and many homes damaged in Oahu.”

Although the exact cause of the fires is yet to be determined, the natural disasters are likely connected, according to AP Environmental Science teacher Richard Sabatier.

“Hotter temperatures and dryer conditions make trees more vulnerable to catching fire in the first place,” Sabatier said. “That coupled with winds from a strong storm that came through blew the fire around and made it worse.”

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About the Contributor
Maya Silberman, Editor-in-Chief
Maya Silberman is a senior going into her third year on the Wingspan staff. Outside of Wingspan, she is captain of the CTE Mock Trial team and a legal intern through the CTE Center's Practicum in Government Program. In her free time, Maya can be found reading any and everything, playing New York Times games, and spending time with her dog, Luna. Maya couldn't be more excited to be one of the Editor-in-Chiefs this year, and looks forward to what is to come! Contact Maya: Maya.Silberman.055@k12.friscoisd.org

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