It’s Time To Ask Why Maui Officials Screwed Up The Wildfire Response So Badly

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The devastating Maui wildfires have unfortunately taught us once again that when things hit the fan, our government will let us down.

In the past two days, both the person who was in charge of distributing water to firefighters (but purposely refused to do so) as well as Maui’s emergency chief have stepped down from their roles. Both were tasked specifically to help their fellow citizens. However when they needed to perform their jobs, they didn’t do so as there are now calls for investigations into just how Hawaiian officials screwed up so badly.

On Thursday, the Obama-backed environmentalist M. Kaleo Manuel was “reassigned” from his role as deputy director of Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources after he delayed sending additional water resources to desperate firefighters and residents who were pleading that they didn’t have any water left to fight the wildfire in the early hours and days. Manuel faced increased scrutiny in recent days after past video clips of him talking about the environment and his belief in the sanctity of water came to light which may have been the underlining reason why he balked at the request. It proved deadly.

And now Maui’s emergency chief Herman Andaya has resigned, effective immediately. His reasoning was almost insulting as he claimed that he stepped down due to “health reasons.” Really? That’s what you’re going to use as an excuse? Whether true or not, it is downright absurd and offensive to not step down for the simple task of NOT DOING YOUR JOB. Literally. (But hey, at least people are getting $700 in relief!)


Whereas Manuel refused to initially allows additional water resources to parts of the island when they so desperately needed them, chief Andaya refused to ever sound the emergency alarms across the island. The result? Over a hundred Maui residents perished with hundreds still missing in the exact area where some of the alarms were located.

In typical BS that we’ve come to expect when government officials screw things up, Andaya tried to divert his wrongdoing by claiming that the emergency alarms are primarily used for tsunami warnings. Yet, a quick fact check on the state’s own government website says that the alarms can be used for WILDFIRES, volcanic eruptions, terrorist attacks and more.


We need an investigation and answers into who else gave the orders in both instances. Who else was on those phone calls or did Manuel and Andaya unilaterally make the calls on their own?

Unfortunately it is just another example of our leaders not doing literally what their jobs are supposed to do.

Whether it’s the Uvalde police chief refusing to send in officers that were literally trained to respond to school shootings and instead had them do the complete opposite, to an environmentalist in charge of water rights for some reason standing by as an island burns down, the powers that be are putting us all at risk.

The aftermath of the Maui wildfires. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

A word of advice to all government officials, politicians, leaders, whatever you want to call yourselves. Listen up and pay close attention: When disasters and horrific scenarios are taking place, there should be NO question regarding the response. It should be all hands on deck, do whatever it takes. Act first, think about and debate the inevitable politics of it afterwards.

Peoples lives are at stake. And we owe it to those who have died because of officials incompetence.

Written by Mike Gunzelman

Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman has been involved in the sports and media industry for over a decade. He’s also a risk taker - the first time he ever had sushi was from a Duane Reade in Penn Station in NYC.


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