The Maui wildfires, ignited by high winds, have tragically claimed the lives of at least 93 individuals, marking a somber milestone as the deadliest wildfire event in the United States in over a century.
The death toll is expected to rise as recovery teams, accompanied by cadaver dogs, meticulously sift through the charred remains of Lahaina, a historic resort city.
The conflagration, which ignited on Tuesday night, continues to baffle experts in terms of its origins, leaving Hawaii Governor Josh Green to describe the devastated area as a “war zone.” As the affected region remains in shock, a grim parallel emerges with the Peshtigo fire of 1871. This Wisconsin blaze, which engulfed the town of Peshtigo, resulted in a staggering death toll of 1,152 – a haunting record that stands to this day.
Closer in history, the Maui wildfire has surpassed the destructive force of the Cloquet Fire in October 1918, known for sparking devastation across northern Minnesota. This deadly event, fueled by railroad sparks, led to the loss of 453 lives.
The striking recurrence of such catastrophic fires has raised concerns over the vulnerability of US homes to wildfire threats. According to the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), nearly half of the country’s land area comprises forests, shrublands, and grasslands. Approximately 45 million American homes are situated near or adjacent to these at-risk areas. The National Interagency Fire Center estimates a staggering 71.8 million properties are exposed to some level of wildfire danger.
Increasingly hot and arid conditions foster the rapid spread, prolonged burning, and heightened intensity of wildfires. Since the 1980s, the ten years with the most extensive wildfire damage all coincided with the warmest years on record.
Peak wildfire season
The United States is witnessing a shifting wildfire landscape, with an earlier peak wildfire season and alarmingly escalating fire counts. In 2022 alone, the nation experienced 66,255 wildfires, dwarfing the 18,229 recorded in 1983. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) emphasizes the crucial role of climate change in escalating fire risks.
As the nation mourns the lives lost in the Maui wildfires, questions loom about the course of action that must be taken. Solutions involving controlled burns and strategic forest management have gained traction as ways to mitigate the impacts of these infernos. But what remains certain is that climate change must be tackled head-on to quell the devastating trend of increasingly deadly wildfires.
*Reporting by Ryder Hayes; Editing by Lisa Shumaker*
Streaming wars: can Apple compete with Spotify?
Spotify’s 2023 Wrapped has dropped prompting listeners to review their top artists, genres, and songs of the year.
Many are taking to social media platforms to share their listening trends with family, friends, coworkers, and even other fans on the internet.
While Apple Music, a rival platform, has its own year-end campaign—it hasn’t quite ignited the same online response.
Seth Schachner, the Managing Director at StratAmericas and a former Sony Music Executive joins Veronica Dudo to discuss. #Spotify #music #Apple #AppleMusic #SpotifyWrapped #streaming #featured #IN AMERICA TODAY
What Australia can learn from NZ’s supermarket inquiry
Coles and Woolworths, two of Australia’s largest supermarket chains, are about to face a Senate inquiry that aims to scrutinise their market dominance and business practices.
The inquiry’s parallels with a past New Zealand investigation highlight the growing concern over the duopoly’s impact on consumers and smaller businesses.
The Senate inquiry, set to begin next month, comes as a response to mounting public pressure and allegations of anti-competitive behavior in the grocery sector.
New Zealand example
Similar concerns led New Zealand to conduct its own inquiry into the supermarket industry back in 2019, resulting in recommendations for increased regulation and transparency.
The central question here is whether Coles and Woolworths wield too much power in the Australian market, potentially stifling competition and limiting choices for consumers.
With the New Zealand example as a cautionary tale, many are wondering if this inquiry will result in meaningful changes to the Australian grocery landscape.
Elon Musk: Nikki Haley’s ‘campaign is dead’
Elon Musk has thrown a verbal jab at former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, declaring her political campaign as “dead” on X.
The unexpected comment from the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has ignited a new wave of discussion within the political sphere, leaving many wondering about the implications for Haley’s political future.
In a tweet that garnered significant attention, Musk criticized Haley’s recent policy stance, writing, “Nikki Haley’s campaign is dead on arrival if she continues to ignore the urgency of climate change.
We need leaders who prioritize the planet’s future.” The tech mogul’s remarks come as Haley, a prominent Republican figure, has been exploring the possibility of running for president in the upcoming election cycle.
Musk’s statement has reignited the debate over climate change within the Republican Party, with many conservatives emphasizing economic interests over environmental concerns.
This raises questions about whether Musk’s endorsement or critique could influence the GOP’s stance on climate issues and potentially impact the 2024 presidential race.
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