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“Like a war zone”: Sacramento tourists escape deadly flames in Maui



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    SACRAMENTO, California (KOVR) — The fires raging in Maui and other popular tourist towns in Hawaii have claimed six lives so far and damaged 271 structures.

Wind-driven flames are forcing tourists and locals to escape with some landing at Sacramento International Airport Wednesday night detailing moments they were surrounded by flames, wondering if they would make it out.

“I was biting my nails and I was just praying the whole time because there was just fires all around us,” said Kim Prior, who touched down at 7 p.m. on a Hawaiian Airlines flight. “We were very sad for the people who live there and have to live through this, but grateful we can come home.”

Cydney Doerres is another Sacramento resident who was in a race against time to get out of Maui.

“It just looked like a war zone, building after building — some we had been shopping in within the last couple of days, just completely demolished,” Doerres said. “We saw one house that was still engulfed in flames and it was just terrifying getting through.”

“They were saying people were jumping into the ocean to get away from the flames, and it’s just so freaking scary,” Doerres said.

As the number of homes and neighborhoods destroyed continues to grow, locals have nowhere to go. Officials are warning they do not have the resources to provide long-term shelter for the overwhelming number of people who need it.

“Absolute sadness. It’s a place we’ve been going to for years and we feel very connected the people there are absolutely amazing,” Prior said. “This is their home, their land, where they make their money. People’s lives are lost, and their homes are lost.”

Hawaii is seeking a presidential emergency to allow for all available resources to be diverted to help in the disaster. The American Red Cross from the Sacramento and surrounding region will deploy to Maui soon to help with disaster relief.

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