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At Least 36 Dead in Raging Fires on Hawaiian Island of Maui, Hundreds of Homes Burned

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At least 36 people have been killed and dozens more injured by wildfires that are sweeping the Hawaiian island of Maui, devastating homes and businesses. 

Mass evacuations are underway as thousands of tourists and residents race to escape the fires that are destroying one of the most beautiful and historic areas of Hawaii.

One helicopter pilot described the scene from the air saying, "Hundreds of homes burned down to the ground. The entire area of Front Street, the whole historic area is gone, burned to the ground, the harbor."

Multiple fires began flaring up Tuesday and quickly spread swallowing up beautiful landscapes and centuries-old buildings.

Hundreds of homes and businesses are damaged or destroyed. In Lahaina, once the capital of the native Hawaiian kingdom, homes dating back to the 1700s are reportedly gone.

The fast-moving flames are causing panic and a fight for survival.

A charter boat crew member said, "I was the last one to get off the dock when the firestorm came through the banyan tree and took everything with it. And I just ran out to the beach and ran south. So I just helped everybody I could along the way."

The Coast Guard rescued more than a dozen people who jumped into the ocean to escape the fire.

Firefighters are working around the clock, but the winds and dry conditions are feeding the fires.

Southern California Pastor Greg Laurie leads a congregation on Maui.

Just weeks ago CBN News went with Laurie on his most recent visit. Today, he's posting some video on social media of that trip and the devastation that has occurred since.

"Here's a video that we shot recently when we were over there and I'm riding a Vespa down Front Street and now, you can see how beautiful it is... look at these images of what it looks like when the fires raged through this city and burned down most of the structures in it."

Pastor Laurie also announced the church is starting a relief fund to help the people recover. Click here to learn more.

And the CityServe ministry is also assembling and delivering over 250,000 meals and other emergency supplies to Kings Cathedral Church Maui, other churches, and local families in need. 

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