Mazie Hirono Links Maui Fire to Climate Change, Highlights Limited Discussion on the Issue in Some States
Senator Mazie Hirono from Hawaii has blamed climate change for a recent deadly fire that killed dozens of people in Maui. During an intervie...
Senator Mazie Hirono Blames Climate Change for Deadly Fire in Maui
Senator Mazie Hirono from Hawaii has blamed climate change for a recent deadly fire that killed dozens of people in Maui. During an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union," Hirono criticized those who do not believe in climate change, stating that they have a "head-in-the-sand attitude."
The fire in Maui has already claimed the lives of at least 93 people, and the death toll is expected to rise.
Climate Change Denial and its Consequences
Senator Hirono believes that climate change is a pressing issue that needs to be acknowledged. She claims that there are states where the term "climate change" cannot even be mentioned due to a denialist attitude. According to USA Today, scientists suggest that the increase in fires in Hawaii is due to unmanaged, nonnative grasslands planted by individuals unfamiliar with the island's native ecosystems. These grasslands are dry and susceptible to fires.
The Role of Fire-Prone Grasses and Weather Conditions
According to Peter Vitousek, a professor at Stanford University, fire-prone grasses have invaded drier ecosystems in Hawaii, leading to larger and more intense fires. The recent fires in Hawaii were greatly fueled by low humidity and high winds, which were intensified by a Category 4 hurricane located south of the islands. The officials are still uncertain about the exact cause of the fires.
Hawaii's High Rate of Wildfires
According to a report, Hawaii experiences a high rate of wildfires compared to other US states. The non-profit group Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization states that approximately 0.5% of Hawaii's total land area is burned each year, which is equal to or greater than any other state. Furthermore, the report highlights that over 98% of these wildfires are caused by human activities.