Hawaii wildfires trigger Foreign Office travel alert as tourists are evacuated

An alert has been issued to British travellers to Hawaii after wildfires were reported to have killed at least six people on the island of Maui.

The historic coastal town of Lahaina was almost totally destroyed with firefighters battling to control the blazes.

Local reports suggested people were jumping into the sea to escape the flames. 

The US Department of Transportation was working to evacuate tourists from Maui. About 4,000 visitors are trying to leave the island, according to state transportation official Ed Sniffen.

The fires were being fanned by strong winds from a hurricane, displacing as many as 4,000 people.

Hawaii governor Josh Green took to social media network X to say: “We have suffered a terrible disaster in the form of a wildfire which has spread across Maui and Hawaii counties as a result of very strong winds in the region and underlying drought conditions.”

The situation trigged a warning overnight from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

The updated travel advice said: “Wildfires are affecting a number of areas of Maui County in Hawaii. Wildfires are highly dangerous and unpredictable. The situation can change quickly.

“Visit the Maui County Alert Center website and Facebook page for up-to-date information from the local government including details on evacuation areas.      

“If you are due to travel to an area that might be affected by wildfires, contact your travel operator or accommodation provider before you travel to check that it is not currently impacted. Make sure you have appropriate insurance.”

Those caught up in an area affected by wildfires were urged to be cautious, follow the guidance of emergency services and contact their airline or tour operator about assistance with return travel to the UK. 

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