Published: August 11, 2023, 03:33h.
Updated: August 11, 2023, 03:33h.
A Las Vegas-based performer visiting Maui managed to escape to Honolulu this week following a devastating wildfire that swept through the western part of the Hawaiian island.
Comedian/hypnotist Don Barnhart happened to be on the island for a show when the deadly fire broke out and rapidly spread.
His comedy performance, scheduled for Sunday at Da Playground Maui in Wailuku, had to be canceled.
Electricity, cell phone, and internet services were disrupted for several days, but eventually, he and his wife found a way to safety.
“It’s just starting to hit us, that oh my God,” he told Las Vegas TV station KLAS. “We were two miles away from where the fire was.”
In the affected area, people took refuge in a harbor to protect themselves from the swiftly moving flames.
“We looked at each other and went ‘okay,’” Barnhart added. “If this is our time, we’ve been blessed with a wonderful life, and we’ll die together.”
Barnhart had plans to open a comedy club on Maui, but now those plans have been shattered due to the wildfire’s destruction.
He frequently performs at the Delirious Comedy Club in Las Vegas and is also scheduled to entertain on Norwegian Cruise Line ships later this year. He remains optimistic about the future.
“Grateful we’re alive and counting our blessings,” he tweeted this week.
According to CNN, as of Friday morning, the wildfire has claimed the lives of 53 people in Hawaii.
“We will continue to see loss of life,” predicted Hawaii Governor Josh Green on Thursday.
The town of Lahaina suffered extensive damage.
“Lahaina, with a few rare exceptions, has been burned down,” Green remarked after visiting the devastated community. “Without a doubt, it feels like a bomb was dropped on Lahaina.”
About 11,000 residents on Maui are still without power as of Thursday night, forcing many to seek shelter or temporary housing.
The fire started on Tuesday, fueled by dry conditions and strong winds.
The wildfire caught island residents by surprise as the emergency siren system did not activate, as reported by the Associated Press.
Firefighters have made significant progress in containing the blaze, with it being 80% contained as of early Friday.
Nevada residents and businesses are donating to charities to aid the affected residents of Hawaii. The two states share a close relationship, with travel between Nevada and Hawaii being highly popular.
Red Cross Provides Aid
Barb Kramer, a disaster relief volunteer from the American Red Cross of Northern Nevada, is scheduled to depart for Hawaii on Friday, as reported by Reno, Nevada’s TV station KRNV.
She will be stationed in Maui for at least three weeks, providing assistance as part of her ongoing disaster relief work.
Having utilized her training and experience to aid in disasters over 20 times in the past decade, she remains dedicated to helping those in need.
Grateful we’re alive and counting our blessings. https://t.co/0po0QaeZpv
— Don Barnhart (@donbarnhart) August 11, 2023