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Dozens Killed In Maui Wildfire Leaving The Town Of Lahaina Devastated

In an aerial view, cars destroyed by a wildfire sit in a lot on August 11, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii. | Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty

Amid a growing death toll from massive wildfires in Hawaii, viral video footage shows a white woman traveler expressing frustrations at her Maui vacation being canceled instead of extending sympathy to the dozens of people who died and were displaced – from the historic blazes.

Jessica A. Hopkins was identified as the apparently miffed – “privileged” and “entitled” are seemingly quite accurate descriptions, too  – traveler being interviewed by ABC News after she and her husband were “diverted” from their destination of Hawaii because of the deadly wildfires there.

ABC News reported that Hopkins and her husband admitted that they “both may be a bit desensitized” when it comes to the Hawaiian wildfires because they live in California’s Bay Area which has also been hit hard in recent years by wildfires.

“We literally could see the flames from our driveway,” Hopkins told ABC News while shrugging and suggesting the developments in Hawaii were being blown out of proportion.

“From what I’ve seen so far, “Hopkins said, “it looks pretty bad but it’s not nearly as bad compared to what we’re used to.”

Even the Hawaii Tourism Authority warned tourists like Hopkins from traveling to Maui as the community is “focused on the recovery of residents who were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses.” Tourists like Hopkins have been encouraged to travel to other Hawaiian islands instead.

But, as shown in the below video, Hopkins suggested that her planned vacation in Maui was more important than officials and residents responding to a disastrous and deadly emergency.


Then, of course, there is the fact to contend with that Maui, unlike the Bay Area, is an island, exacerbating the urgency in Hawaii and further underscoring the difference between the sets of wildfires.

It’s unclear when the interview was conducted, but the TikTok video that brought attention to Hopkins’ comments was posted on Friday, three days after wildfires spread across Lahaina propelled by strong winds. Photos and videos quickly populated social media timelines to show the devastation. Initial reports placed the death toll at more than four dozen people. By Monday afternoon, the Associated Press reported that the number was closer to 100. Thousands more remain unaccounted for.

Dozens Killed In Maui Wildfire Leaving The Town Of Lahaina Devastated

In an aerial view, part of a structure still stands after being destroyed by a wildfire on August 11, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii. | Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty

It’s also not clear to which wildfires Hopkins said she and her husband had survived, none of the California wildfires in recent years were the same in scope as the ones in Lahaina. And if history is any indication, just like with the wildfires in California, the final death toll from Lahaina likely won’t be known for weeks, the New York Times reminded its readers this weekend.

This is America.


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