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Hawaii faces surge in wildfires, challenges paradise image

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  • Staff Report 

Hawaii, often regarded as a tropical paradise, is experiencing a sharp uptick in wildfires and other natural disasters, according to an Associated Press analysis of FEMA records.

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While the U.S. mainland has seen a threefold increase in burned acreage since the 1980s due to climate change, Hawaii’s burned area has increased by over five times in the same period, with figures from the University of Hawaii Manoa supporting this trend.

This alarming increase undermines the perception of Hawaii as a serene escape, with the state now being one of the nation’s riskiest. Just this month, six different fire disasters were declared in Hawaii, a figure equivalent to the total recorded from 1953 to 2003.

Experts attribute this escalating wildfire issue to changes in land use patterns and vegetation. University of Hawaii’s fire scientist, Clay Trauernicht, highlighted a significant decline in plantation agriculture and ranching since the 1990s, leading to the replacement of millions of acres of crops with grasslands that burn rapidly.

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