Climate warning
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Climate warning

Hawaii: growing threat of ‘devastating’ fires as island landscape dries and warms

Long before fast-moving flames descended on the historic town of Lahaina, the growing threats of catastrophic fire in western Maui were clear. Acres of abandoned farmland that line the picturesque coastal communities played perfect host to invasive grasses that are primed to burn, creating tinderbox conditions as the island’s landscapes dried and warmed. Devastating blazes, once a rarity across Hawaii, are increasing in furiousness and scale, driving a 400% increase in average area burned across the archipelago in the last century. The growing threat has outpaced preparedness measures and the resources available to fight them.

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