Nearly 85% of US wildfires are caused by humans, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Natural causes include lightning and volcanic activity. The Hawaiian Islands have six active volcanoes, including one on Maui.
Record-setting heat this summer has contributed to unusually severe wildfires in Europe and western Canada. Scientists say climate change, driven by fossil fuel use, has led to more frequent and more powerful extreme weather events.
WHAT’S DRIVING THE HAWAII WILDFIRES?
Winds from Hurricane Dora, hundreds of miles southwest of the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean, have fanned the flames across the U.S. state, officials say.
In addition to Dora, a low-pressure system to the west near Japan is also contributing to the high sustained winds. Dry vegetation is also a contributing factor.
The spread of flammable non-native grasses such as Guinea grass in areas of former farmland and forest have created large amounts of small, easily ignited materials that increase the risk and severity of fire.