Historic Wildfire Destroys Lahaina, Hawaii

Destroyed Properties in Lāhainā on Maui, Hawaii – Thursday, August 17, 2023.

Greetings! This historic and blistering summer continues breaking records. Weather whiplash undoubtedly brought on by human-caused climate changeincreased the frequency of these extreme atmospheric events. 

The historic Lāhainā, Hawaii wildfire earlier this month has killed at least 114 people as of this writing, with more than 800 still unaccounted for. It banished “more than 2,000 structures” and forced “people to flee into the ocean for safety. The wildfires, now among the deadliest in US history, burned hundreds of acres in Hawaii and utterly decimated Lāhainā, the tourism heart of the island and the largest city in its west.”

Hawaii GovernorJosh Green said, “We have suffered a terrible disaster. “Much of Lāhainā on Maui has been destroyed and hundreds of local families have been displaced.”

According to the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, “Wildfires were once rare in Hawaii, largely ignited by volcanic eruptions and dry lightning strikes, but human activity in recent decades has made them more common and extreme. The average area burned each year in wildfires, which tend to start in grasslands, has increased roughly 400 percent in the last century. Part of the problem is that climate change is making Hawaii drier, so it’s more likely to ignite when there’s an ignition event (most Hawaii wildfires are sparked by humans.” 

Cynthia Wessendorf, from Hawaii Business Magazine explained, “The spread of highly flammable invasive grasses is also to blame. Native to the African savanna, guinea grass and fountain grass, for example, now cover a huge portion of Hawaii, and they provide fuel for wildfires.”

Hawaii is Parched Right Now and It’s Getting Drier

According to Hawaii’s State Government, “The simplest reason parts of Maui are burning is that it’s hot and dry – summer is the dry season. And dry, hot weather provides the foundation for extreme wildfires by sucking moisture out of vegetation and essentially turning it into kindling. (That’s partly why the Canada wildfires have been so severe this year, too.)”

“Zooming out, carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels are making the planet hotter and deepening droughts around the world. Hawaii is no exception. Today, there’s less rainfall in 90 percent of the state compared to a century ago.” 

Climate Change Brings A Perfect Storm to Hawaii

The wildfire that destroyed Lāhainā was enhanced from climate changeWinds from powerful Hurricane Dora churning hundreds of miles offshore in the Pacific Ocean did not make landfall in Hawaii. However, according to the National Weather Service, it pushed “strong winds that can, in turn, fuel wildfire blazes.” 

Here’s an Excellent Way to Talk to Kids with “Soft Facts”about Climate Change

One awesome tool for talking to kids about climate change is to read my fourth installment in the award-winning Kobee Manatee® Children’s Educational Picture Book series. It’s titled, Kobee Manatee® Climate Change and The Great Blue Hole HazardIt contains “soft facts” about climate change and plastic pollution in our oceans.

Kobee Manatee Climate Change and The Great Blue Hole Hazard – (Lexile Measure:790L)

When you read this award-winning educational picture book to children, it’s a fun and fictional adventure loaded with weaved in “soft facts” on climate change and plastic pollution. This quickly helps children learn about this serious subject in a fun and entertaining way. Here’s a brief synopsis …

Kobee Manatee, the protagonist and his seafaring pals, Tess the seahorse and Pablo the hermit crab swim from the Cayman Islands to Belize. Kobee wants to help his cousin Quinn clean up plastic litter at her new, all-veggie underwater bistro called Quinn’s Seagrass Café.

On their Caribbean journey they encounter harmful effects of climate change and plastic pollution. As if that wasn’t enough, several other unforeseen problems occur with a distressed loggerhead turtle, a giant Portuguese man-of-war, and a venomous scorpionfish. They’re all amazed when they discover the extraordinary Great Blue Hole. Then their adventure takes another crazy turn when Pablo plunges into its huge abyss!

Each page includes in-depth, scientific details on climate change and plastic pollution in our oceans with Dr. Tracy FanaraNOAA Research Scientist (aka Inspector Planet). Tracy can be seen on The Weather Channel as a visiting expert and she’s also seen on their “Weird Earth” segments.

We have Fantastic Reviews on this New Release!

“I read the book to my 6-year-old this morning while he was having his breakfast before school and he loved it! We talked about the characters, what it meant for the pollution to be in the oceans for all the sea creatures, and how fun the story was. Thank you so much for writing such a great story for kids that is not only entertaining, but has a message!” – Jessica Vilchis, Co-Host KNBC California Live

“A well-crafted, thoughtful, and well-illustrated addition to a noteworthy educational book series.” Kirkus Reviews

“Robert Scott Thayer presents an important environmental message in an engaging story with wonderful characters. Anyone who loves the ocean and wants to help save it should read Kobee Manatee: Climate Change and The Great Blue Hole Hazard. I’m looking forward to the next Kobee Manatee adventure.”   Readers’ Favorite

For young readers who enjoy imaginative tales surrounding affable and heroic sea creatures, as well as parents and/or teachers looking for a way to introduce youngsters to the importance of marine conservation, Kobee Manatee® Climate Change and The Great Blue Hole Hazard offers a perfect blend. Highly recommended– Chanticleer Book Reviews

Keep watching for more of my updates on climate change!

If you see any sick or injured manatees, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-3922 (FWCC). They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida.

Here’s the Save the Manatee Club link to learn more about us manatees …


Here’s a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation …


~ Robert Scott Thayer

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