To The Place I Was Before

Every summer we read about mass wildfires that cause extreme destruction somewhere. To the locals, it’s often the tragedy of a lifetime. To others, it’s the destruction of a place they’ve never seen. But this week, as a hurricane-fueled fire swept across Maui, millions of people around the country and the world are witnessing the loss of a place they’ve visited, a tree in front of which they’ve taken family photos, and a place they thought of as paradise, lost. “Deadly wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui have torched thousands of acres, destroyed hundreds of structures and sent scores of residents and visitors fleeing. The death toll climbed from six to 36 on Wednesday evening.”

+ Wildfire decimates Lahaina, once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

+ Ring by ring, majestic banyan tree in heart of fire-scorched Lahaina chronicles 150 years of history.

+ “The fires in Hawaii would be shocking anywhere — killing at least 36 people, in one of the deadliest wildfires in the United States in modern history. But the devastation is especially striking because of where it happened: In a state defined by its lush vegetation, a far cry from the dry landscape normally associated with fire threats. The explanation is as straightforward as it is sobering: as the planet heats up, no place is protected from disasters.” NYT (Gift Article): How Climate Change Turned Lush Hawaii Into a Tinderbox.

+ “Sometimes understanding a phenomenon intellectually is not enough; it’s just not the same as the perspective you get when the flames are licking at your own door.” The Atlantic (Gift Article): Hawaii Is a Warning. (Or, at more accurately, the latest warning.)

+ Here’s the latest from CNN.

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