• Ouragan sec. L’archipel d’Hawaï en proie à de violents incendies, des évacuations sont en cours

    Un incendie à Lahaina, sur l’île de Maui, mardi 8 août 2023. ALAN DICKAR / AP

    Le réseau hospitalier à Maui était « dépassé » par les patients souffrant de brûlures ou ayant inhalé de la fumée, selon la vice-gouverneure de l’archipel, et le service d’appel d’urgence 911 ne fonctionne pas dans certaines régions.

    Des habitants sautant dans l’océan pour échapper aux feux, d’autres observant, terrifiés, les flammes entourer le véhicule à bord duquel ils fuyaient : des incendies brûlent mercredi 9 août l’archipel américain d’Hawaï, où l’état d’urgence a été déclaré et des évacuations ont été ordonnées. Alimentés par des vents violents, les incendies sur les îles de Maui et Hawaï ont dévoré des maisons et des commerces, notamment dans la ville touristique de Lahaina (...)

    Les garde-côtes ont déclaré avoir secouru douze personnes dans les eaux au large de Lahaina et qu’ils envoyaient des navires vers Maui. Une témoin interrogée par Hawaii News Now a affirmé que « tous les bateaux dans le port de Lahaina [avaient] brûlé ». « On dirait un film, un film de guerre », a-t-il encore dit.

    Selon la vice-gouverneure, le fait que les #incendies aient été indirectement alimentés par de forts vents exacerbés par l’#ouragan Dora est « sans précédent », car ces phénomènes météorologiques apportent d’ordinaire pluies et inondations à Hawaï, a-t-elle expliqué. Presque 15 000 foyers et commerces étaient sans électricité dans l’archipel, selon le site PowerOutage.

    comme pour Rhodes récemment, on entendra probablement davantage parler des touristes que des habitants, pourtant Américains.

    edit et pendant ce temps des cactus centenaires meurent en Arizona, non pas à cause du manque d’eau, mais de la chaleur nocturne.

    #climat #tourisme
    édit vu ce qui suit sur « l’incendie de forêt le plus meurtrier aux États-Unis depuis plus de 100 ans. »
    #pompiers #eau #alimentation_en_eau #hélicoptères_cloués_au_sol

    • As Inferno Grew, Lahaina’s Water System Collapsed

      The collapse of the town’s water system, described to The New York Times by several people on scene, is yet another disastrous factor in a confluence that ended up producing what is now the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than 100 years. The lack of water forced firefighters into an extraordinary rush to save lives by risking their own, and it has left people searching for answers about how the community can better prepare for a world of fiercer winds and drier lands.

      [...] The water system in Lahaina relies on both surface water from a creek and groundwater pumped from wells. Persistent drought conditions combined with population growth have already led officials at the state and local level to explore ways to shore up water supplies, and they broke ground on a new well two months ago to increase capacity.

      On the day the fire tore through Lahaina, the fight was complicated by winds in excess of 70 miles per hour, stoked by a hurricane offshore. Not only did the wind fuel the blaze, it made it impossible during much of the day to launch helicopters that could have carried in and dropped water from the ocean.

      Early that day, as winds knocked out power to thousands of people, county officials urged people to conserve water, saying that “power outages are impacting the ability to pump water.”

      John Stufflebean, the county’s director of water supply, said backup generators allowed the system to maintain sufficient overall supply throughout the fire. But he said that as the fire began moving down the hillside, turning homes into rubble, many properties were damaged so badly that water was spewing out of their melting pipes, depressurizing the network that also supplies the hydrants.

      “The water was leaking out of the system,” he said.

      [...] Mr. Ho said downed power lines made navigation treacherous. The wind was so intense that firefighters found themselves crawling at times. Thick smoke made it difficult to breathe, but they often had to remove their masks to communicate evacuation orders to people still in the area.

      In the end, the fire stopped only when it ran out of fuel at the ocean. The extent of the damage is still coming into focus, but it is already huge: some 1,500 residential buildings destroyed, thousands of people displaced, nearly 100 found dead so far, and the heart of a community that has long been a gem of Hawaiian history is reduced to ashes.

      The state attorney general has begun a review of how previous decision-making and policies might have affected the fire and the county’s ability to fight it. The problems with water availability were compounded by others, as many residents said they were never given evacuation orders, and sirens set up to warn of such emergencies never sounded an alarm.

    • Lahaina used to be a wetland

      It was only because of colonization and climate change that it became a tinderbox.

      #Lahaina wasn’t always a dry, fire-prone region. It was very wet and lush, historically. Boats would circle the famous Waiola Church. Lahaina was also the breeding place of aquaculture. It had some of the world’s first and most innovative systems of fish ponds.

      ”But at the dawn of the 18th century, sugar barons arrived and illicitly diverted the water to irrigate the lands they had stolen. (Note: 18th century European sugar and pineapple barons also brought invasive grasses, Wired reports, which now cover 26 percent of Hawaii and become “explosive” fuel for wildfires.)

      “Today, descendants from those same barons amass fast profits from controlling our irrigation, our land use, and political influence. Alexander and Baldwin are two big missionary families of the original oligarchs, and they’re currently the largest landowners on Maui. That’s the name of their corporation and they’re one of the top political donors here today.

      “So on one hand, the climate emergency caused this. On the other, it’s also that history of colonial greed that made Lahaina the dry place that it is."

      #Hawaï #eau #feu #pyrocène #colonialisme