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"This is their livelihood": Deadly Hawaii firestorm all too familiar for Californians

Deadly Hawaii firestorm all too familiar to Californians
Deadly Hawaii firestorm all too familiar to Californians 03:09

SACRAMENTO — Fierce flames are turning the beautiful island of Maui into an apocalyptic picture. Officials said six people have died because of the raging fires and several people are unaccounted for.

"A part of my heart that lives on Maui," said Ana Manzano Fairbarin, "it will never go away." 

Manzano Fairbarin now lives in Sacramento but grew up near Lahaina on the other side of the West Maui Mountains. 

"Most of our family and friends are accounted for," she said.

Fairbarin has been in constant conversation with her loved ones who evacuated their homes in Maui and is devastated to see the historic town of Lahaina, which was once the capital of the kingdom of Hawaii, turned to rubble. 

"Many of our royalty and our kupuna, our honored elders, are buried in the region," she said. "So these are very sacred sites." 

For Fairbarin and so many other Hawaii natives, it is so much more than just a tourist attraction. 

"This is a historical site. This is their homes. This is their livelihood," she said. "This is a place of such cultural significance." 

Jerry Gillgren is a Napa transplant to the Big Island. He said the orange skies are all too familiar to him after losing his own home in the LNU fire in 2020. He also used to work on emergency response teams for multiple fires that raged through Napa. 

"Just emotional," said Gillgren. "Having felt what these people have gone through, it is difficult to deal with." 

Gillgren is currently about 20 minutes south of Hilo, but the fires burning on the big island are still too close for comfort. He has several friends and family who are on Maui that he is worried about. 

"When you have human life loss like this and just destitute where they have to jump in the ocean to escape fire, it just gives you perspective," said Gillgren. 

Historic sights like the famed Banyan Tree in Lahaina are still standing but charred. 

"My heart is just broken," Fairbarin said. "To just regard it as a beautiful place for tourists to enjoy, I think, is really missing the mark."

She is praying for her ohana in Maui as they figure out where to go from here. 

"I am here," she said. "There is only so much I can do, but I am going to do it." 

Flight delays to leave Maui have started. Hawaiian Airlines and Southwest are offering $19 flights out of Maui. 

Local travel agent Kallie Steever said that about 3,000 tourists in Mauri will be ferried to Oahu. 

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