The fast moving fires in Maui, and the damage theyve caused have caught a lot of our countrys attention, but there are people in Arizona watching the fires burn where they grew up.
Arizona and Hawaii are certainly very different environments but there is a connection between the two states; and thats why some of your neighbors may be really feeling the fire disaster in Maui.
For many people seeing that fast moving fire wreck the historic town of Lahaina may make them remember a cherished place to vacation. But to Justin Shiffler it’s home.
“When you’re visiting Hawaii, you’re visiting where people live, where people work, you know a lot of my friends back home, this is their everyday lives. Like getting up, going to work and doing whatever work it is that they do.
Like many Hawaiians, he left his home state to go to college and get a job. Now hes been trying to reach family and friends around Lahaina. He says communications knocked out by the fire have been coming back.
“I’m grateful to report that a lot of my family and a lot of my friends seem to be alright. They’ve been evacuated. Several have lost their homes but as long as they’re alright, that’s kind of the first step.
He knows it will take more than hammers and nails to rebuild what the fire took away.
There’s definitely been some damage to that spiritual element. One of the strongest things about Hawaiis community, especially Lahainas communities is a connection with the land. A lot of my friends like to fish, dive in the area surrounding Lahaina. A lot of my friends live in the area surrounding Lahaina. When theres such a devastating blow to their homes, their businesses it can really impact it all.
And Shiffler says he hopes people will share their support to help Maui rebuild but not visit for a while to give damaged systems a time to heal.