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911 and cell service down in Maui as people jump into ocean to escape Hawaii wildfires

Winds associated with Hurricane Dora have made it particularly difficult to predict the path of the fires.

Published: August 9, 2023 9:35am

Services for 911 and cell phones are down on the west side of Maui as people are jumping into the ocean to escape out-of-control wildfires raging Wednesday across the island and Hawaii's Big Island.

Maui is particularly hard hit as parts of the island are under evacuation orders. At least 10 Maui schools are closed Wednesday due to the spreading fires, including Maui High School, which is serving as an evacuation site and shelter.

"The Coast Guard has been responding to impacted areas where residents are entering the ocean due to smoke and fire conditions. Individuals were transported by the Coast Guard to safe areas," Maui County said. CNN reports that 12 people were rescued after fleeing into the ocean.

Winds associated with Hurricane Dora, which is hundreds of miles south of the island chain, have fanned the wildfires in Maui and the Big Island, making it particularly difficult to predict the path of the fires.

"The fire can be a mile or more from your house, but in a minute or two, it can be at your house," Maui County Fire Assistant Chief Jeff Giesea said, according to the cable network. "Burning airborne materials can light fires a great distance away from the main body of fire."

"911 is down. Cell service is down. Phone service is down,"Hawaii Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke said. "Our hospital system on Maui, they are overburdened with burn patients, people suffering from inhalation."

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