In the lower left is Ma'alaea Harbor. Upper right (along ridge line) is the new windfarm that was built this summer. (MAP)
This fire has been burning since Friday and is still not contained or controlled. In the 13 years I have lived on Mau'i, this is definately the worst.
What really irks me is that SR-30 (Honoapi'ilani Highway), is always being closed when something major happens. My complaint isn't about the closures but the fact that both the State of Hawai'i and the County of Mau'i have long acknowledged the problem but have never taken any steps to alleviate this bottleneck.
Every time there is a fire or a major traffic accident, the road is closed, sometimes up to 36 hours. There is no real alternative route. The highway that goes around the northside of Mau'i, through Kahakuloa, is a one lane road. Incapable of handling traffic. I have been on it and at points only had 6 inches of clearance from the cliff on one side and six inches of clearance from the drop-off into the ocean. In the best of conditions, it is a 3-4 hour trip to get to central Mau'i that way.
These closures happen a minimum of once a year, stranding residents and tourists on one side or the other, unable to return home or to their hotels. Unable to get to or from their place of employment.
Departing guests missing their flights and arriving guests having nowhere to go. This is very poor public relations.
How would you like to be in dire need of medical assistance but unable to get to the one, and only, hospital on the island. I'll give credit to the paramedics, but they are not doctors and obviously have limited equipment available to them. Can't do much with massive head wounds or substantial torso wounds. "Doctor says you're gonna die."
It is time now for the State and County to get off their lazy asses and do something positive and not just lip-service about having someone somewhere do a study of the problem. They have authorized countless studies before but have never followed up or even actually initiated most of them. Just flapping their lips in the wind. Looking for that 10-second "sound bite" for the evening news.
A government of the special people, by the special people, for the special people and the rest of us can just go to hell.
I am not feeling very special.
"Let's all be careful out there!"