NBC Host: Breaking news out of Hawaii, where ravaging wildfires engulf Maui. Clint Hanson of Maui Real Estate Radio recorded this drone footage of a terrifying scene as it developed through the night and into the early morning hours of today. Clint Hansen joins me now. He has been driving around, trying to help people and bring them supplies. First of all, good for you. But what are you seeing? How bad is it?
Clint Hanson: Thank you for having me. This is the worst I've ever seen any fire on the island. While we do experience some inclement weather from time to time, Maui is known for its good weather. It's been 180 years since a hurricane hit us. But when summer comes, and things dry out, combined with high winds, a perfect storm occurs, and that's precisely what's been happening in the last 24 hours.
I was out early and late afternoon, barely making it back home through dirt roads, only to witness the fires starting and hear firsthand accounts of houses being destroyed, landmarks being burnt to the ground, and buildings that have stood for over a hundred years disappearing. Shockingly, the places you grew up in no longer exist. The fear of friends and whether they're still alive due to the lack of communication is overwhelming.
Seeing footage of people trapped and panicked as they navigate through dangerous areas, where stepping out of a car could mean almost certain death, is terrifying. I've been documenting the fires where I live in Kihei, and there have been three major fires on the island. Upcountry, where my parents' home is, is surrounded by fire, and Kihei's situation is the same. I received updates throughout the night, and while Kihei seems to be spared for now, similar assumptions were made about Lahaina yesterday. People didn't have time to prepare; families had been completely wiped out.
People are fleeing to the ocean for safety, some even jumping into the water and being rescued by the Coast Guard. Civilian boat owners have been mobilized to assist with rescues. I've been trying to get out there to check on friends, family, and pets, but the roads are clogged, and it's understandable, given the chaos. I'm at the harbor, attempting to find a way out by boat, but everything is locked down here as well.
NBC Host: So, Clint, when was the last time you could reach your friends in Lahaina, and is everyone in your family okay?
Clint Hansen: My immediate family is safe. My parents were briefly on land, while my wife and kids were away from the most dangerous areas. As I mentioned, the fire's direction has changed in Kihei and doesn't appear to be a significant threat. However, with the multiple hotspots, Kihei could face a situation as dire as Lahaina if the fires reignite.
NBC Host: When did you last speak to your friends in Lahaina, and what did they share with you?
Clint Hansen: Most people I've been in touch with are firefighters and those assisting in Lahaina. Some of the footage shows the harbor completely devastated. It's hard to fathom that a port with boats on water could be so severely impacted. Communication is minimal due to poor reception, so getting accurate information is challenging. Friends have recounted stories of rushing to their families on mopeds, fearing the worst, as they've seen people on the ground who might not have survived. We're all trying to endure and help one another in this chaotic situation.
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