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How planning and infrastructure failed during Maui wildfires

In an aerial view, a recovery vehicle drives past burned structures and cars in a neighborhood next to shoreline.
A recovery vehicle drives past burned structures and cars two months after a devastating wildfire on October 9th, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii.  | Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images

New details surfaced this week about cascading failures that led to wildfires ripping through Maui last August. While investigations confirming the cause of the blaze are ongoing, officials are recognizing how unprepared agencies were for the inferno.

The wildfires killed at least 101 people and scorched some 2,200 structures — most of them residential. Downed power lines, blocked evacuation routes, and poor communications all added to extreme conditions that allowed blazes to grow into a monstrous conflagration.

“In the aftermath of this catastrophe, questions linger about the adequacy of warning…

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