Wildfires in US state of Hawaii leave 6 dead
Fires on island of Maui spurred by gusting winds from Hurricane Dora
By Darren Lyn
HOUSTON, US (AA) - At least six people have died in the US state of Hawaii due to wildfires ravaging the island of Maui, according to multiple media reports on Wednesday.
The US Coast Guard has rescued more than a dozen people who jumped into the ocean to escape the blazes and search and rescue crews are looking for more people who may have become stranded amid the chaos.
The three separate wildfires have been spurred by 60-mile-per-hour (96 kilometer-per-hour) gusting winds from Hurricane Dora in the Pacific Ocean and firefighters are being hampered by downed power lines and trees on roads.
"These fires have burned hundreds of acres and have forced the closure of roads and schools," said Acting Hawaii Gov. Sylvia Luke in her state of emergency declaration on Wednesday, her second emergency proclamation in as many days.
Luke activated the National Guard on Tuesday, forcing the evacuation of 2,100 residents who are now being housed in shelters.
"These fires threaten to cause damages, losses and suffering of such character and magnitude to affect the health, welfare and living conditions of a substantial number of persons and to affect the economy of the state," she added.
Tourists are being asked to stay away from Maui, and all nonessential travel to the island is being discouraged for safety reasons.
Some 2,000 travelers were stranded at Maui International Airport after flights were canceled.
In addition, nearly 16,000 power outages have been reported on the island.
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