Hawaii Governor vows to protect wildfire victims from land-grabbers

August 17, 2023

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green (D) said Wednesday he instructed the state attorney general to put a moratorium on land transactions in wildfire-ravaged Lahaina. 

The governor vowed at his news conference to protect local landowners from being “victimized” by opportunistic buyers as the island of Maui rebuilds from this week’s devastating wildfires. 

The flames erupted early last Tuesday, August 8, fueled by fierce winds from Hurricane Dora in the Pacific. The town of Lahaina was hit the worst with the flames leaving little more than melted cars and scorched, skeletal remains of buildings.

As of Wednesday evening, the death toll had risen to 110 with hundreds still missing as recovery workers search the rubble. Families hoping to hear about loved ones have been asked to provide DNA samples.

In the wildfires’ aftermath, Maui citizens have reported looters and land-grabbers descending upon their island.

Local sport fisherman Bryan Sizemore, who’s been sleeping in his car, said he’s chased off at gunpoint several looters who’ve been “poking holes into the gas tanks and draining them off.”

Gov. Green has estimated the fires have caused $6 billion in damage.

At his news conference Wednesday, he said, “My intention from start to finish is to make sure that no one is victimized from a land grab.”

He further warned, “People are right now traumatized. Please do not approach them with an offer to buy their land. Do not approach their families saying they’ll be much better off if they make a deal. Because we’re not going to allow it.”

For info on different ways to assist in Hawaii’s recovery, log onto Maui Nui Strong here.

PHOTO: Maui wildfires August 8

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