By Randall Yip, AsAmNews Executive Editor
A report obtained by AsAmNews details what an investigation conducted by a catastrophic risk assessment company believes caused the Lahaina fire to spread so quickly.
Karen Clark and Company estimates the losses from the Lahaina Fire to be around $3.2 billion.
More than 2200 buildings have been destroyed there in what is being called the most destructive wildfire in Hawaii history.
The report from KC & Co blame low humidity and drought for creating conditions ripe for a fast moving fire.
Humidity at the time on August 8 was just 11 percent and portions of the island had been under severe to moderate drought conditions.
Hawaii also had very rainy weather prior to the drought leading to increased vegetation that fed the flames.
High winds caused by Hurricane Dora passing to the south coupled with a high pressure system to the north added to the unfavorable conditions.
Winds blew at 67 miles per hour and produced strong downslope winds.
“In Hawaii, the dry season is becoming hotter and drier due to climate change, which leaves the state more vulnerable to brush fires and wildfires,” the report concluded.
The fire burned just 2170 acres, but based on satellite imagery, KC & Co believes more than 3,000 structures were impacted, including smoke damage.
Most of those structures were residential buildings, although commercial buildings were also damaged.
“The high proportion of wood frame and older construction present in the Lahaina
building inventory likely contributed to the high damageability rates observed in the fire,” the report concluded.
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