One of his properties had just gone up in flames when Alan Dickar saw an economic hub of Maui get swallowed by wildfire.

“Front Street exploded in flame,” Dickar told CNN Wednesday as catastrophic fires keep raging on Maui, Hawaii’s third-most populous island.

Countless residents and tourists are stranded or trapped by the infernos that are so catastrophic, some people are hurling themselves into the ocean to escape the flames.


Even emergency crews might not be able to help as the fires – fueled in part by Hurricane Dora churning some 800 miles away – have severed 911 services and communications in many parts of the island.

“911 is down. Cell service is down. Phone service is down,” Hawaii Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke told CNN on Wednesday morning.

“Our hospital system on Maui, they are overburdened with burn patients, people suffering from inhalation,” she said. “The reality is that we need to fly people out of Maui to give them burn support because Maui hospital cannot do extensive burn treatment.”

The disaster also has wiped out power to about 14,000 homes and businesses in Maui, according to

It’s not clear how many people may have been injured or killed by the infernos.

“Heroic efforts by first responders have prevented many casualties from occurring, but some loss of life is expected,” Gov. Josh Green said in a statement Wednesday.

Hawaii isn’t the only US state grappling with devastating wildfires – a trend some experts had predicted for this season. Parts of Texas are under a critical fire risk Wednesday, a day after a brush fire engulfed an apartment building in the Austin area.

But the crisis unfolding in Maui is extraordinary, Hawaii’s lieutenant governor said.

“The fact that we have wildfires in multiple areas as a result of indirectly from a hurricane is unprecedented,” Luke said.



Hurricane Dora’s impact on the wildfires

Dora, a powerful Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 130 mph, was about 795 miles southwest of Honolulu as of Wednesday morning, the National Hurricane Center said. No coastal watches or warnings were in effect.

Hurricane Dora continues to trek westward in the open Pacific Ocean as a strong high-pressure system and the storm’s winds have been blamed for enhancing brush fires across several Hawaiian Islands.

Aside from marine interests, forecasters said the hurricane poses no threat to any landmasses over at least the following week.

Located about 795 miles south of Honolulu, Dora is also indirectly enhancing the winds across Hawaii, in conjunction with the ridge of high pressure, the FOX Forecast Center said. Fire crews are battling multiple brush fires on Maui and the Big Island as wind gusts of more than 70 mph boosted the flames. As many as 12 residents in Maui had to enter the ocean due to smoke and fire conditions.

The latest update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the Central Pacific Hurricane Center showed the Category 4 hurricane has maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, and was moving west at 22 mph.

That motion is expected to continue for the next several days, and the NHC said Dora will begin to slow and gradually weaken over the next two days.

The NHC said hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles.

Swells generated by Dora are expected to begin impacting Johnston Island late Wednesday, likely producing large and life-threatening surf through Thursday, the NHC notes.

Dora might survive an entire trek across the vast Pacific Ocean and enter the western Pacific Ocean basin several days from now.

It would become the second Dora-named storm to accomplish the feat – an occasion that has only been done less than a dozen times in modern hurricane history. Hurricane Dora in 1999 also made the trek from the eastern Pacific Ocean all the way into the western part of the basin.