A few days ago, the hurricane forecasts looked good. Dora was going to miss Hawaii, passing by far to the south. And yet the storm still ended up wreaking havoc on the islands, not as a rain-bearing cyclone but as wind—hot, dry wind, which, as it blew across the island of Maui, met wildfire.
A fire with no wind is relatively easy to control; a fire on a gusty day, especially in a dry, mountainous area with a town nearby, is a worst-case scenario for firefighters. And so it was. Fires began burning Tuesday, and by that night, they had reached the tourism hub of Lahaina, eventually burning it flat. Power was knocked out; 911 went down. Residents swam into the cool ocean to avoid the flames. At least 53 people have died so far.