Bare electrical wire and leaning poles on Maui were possible cause of deadly fires

By Jennifer McDermott
August 26, 2023
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

LAHAINA, Hawaii — In the first moments of the Maui fires, when high winds brought down power poles, slapping electrified wires to the dry grass below, there was a reason the flames erupted all at once in long, neat rows — those wires were bare, uninsulated metal that could spark on contact. Videos and images confirmed those wires were among miles of line that Hawaiian Electric Co. left naked, despite a recent push by utilities in other wildfire- and hurricane-prone areas to cover up their lines or bury them. Compounding the problem is that many of the utility’s 60,000, mostly wooden power poles, which its own documents described as built to “an obsolete 1960s standard,” were leaning and near the end of their projected lifespan. …Hawaiian Electric is facing a spate of new lawsuits that seek to hold it responsible for the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century.

Read More