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Bendix Speaks to the Washington Post About the Maui Wildfires

September 12, 2023

The Washington Post

Jacob Bendix

Jacob Bendix

One of the deadliest wildfires in U.S. history began on Aug. 8 on the hills above downtown Lahaina, Hawaii. Evidence suggests heavy winds downed power lines in the area, sending sparks into the surrounding dry shrubland.

The fire started on properties largely covered in nonnative grasslands and shrubs, as confirmed by 2020 vegetation data published by the Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the Department of Interior.

Jacob Bendix, professor emeritus of geography and the environment, says the grasses provided “fine fuels that ignite easily” due to their high surface area-to-volume ratio, dense growth patterns and height.

Read more in the Washington Post article, “Maui’s neglected grasslands caused Lahaina fire to grow with deadly speed.”

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