Hold climate change activists accountable for Maui wildfire missteps

Article originally appeared on www.washingtonexaminer.com.

Embers had barely cooled, and tears hadn’t yet dried, in Lahaina when the first lawsuit was filed. In August, Maui County filed suit against Hawaiian Electric for negligence it alleges was responsible for the deadly Lahaina wildfire.

Regardless of how that case plays out, experts agree that, like in most wildfires, the devastation was caused by a confluence of natural conditions and human decisions.

Hawaii’s attorney general’s office has opened an investigation into what caused the tragic wildfire. Hawaii News Now reports that experts “will look at possible causes, government missteps and even whether there is any criminal wrongdoing that the state should pursue.”

One “government misstep” that warrants scrutiny is the decision to ban an age-old fire mitigation practice, prescribed burns. These tightly controlled and highly regulated burns intentionally remove spent agricultural or forest growth so that even if there is a fire, it won’t have fuel to grow out of control.

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