British rock star Mick Fleetwood, who has lived in Hawaii for decades, has said the situation in Lahaina is “catastrophic” following deadly wildfires that have killed at least 96 people.
The Fleetwood Mac drummer told Sky News that the disaster has been “an incredible shock for everyone” – and described the scene as “complete devastation”.
Fleetwood revealed he was in LA visiting family when the fires broke out but flew back immediately, bringing supplies with him.
“These hills were ablaze and I wasn’t there… I was feeling helpless, and switches were going on and off as to what to do.”
The latest developments
- At least 93 people have died
- Two wildfires are still not contained
- Sniffer dogs searching for human remains
- Hundreds remain unaccounted for
- Estimated cost to rebuild Lahaina is $5.5bn
- Failure of warning sirens investigated
Fleetwood’s house was untouched but the town of Lahaina, where he owns a popular restaurant, has been decimated.
His restaurant, Fleetwood’s on Front St, was about to celebrate its 11th anniversary this week – but it has been destroyed by the blaze, and many of his staff have lost everything.
“It’s an incredible shock for everyone,” he says. “The whole town of Lahaina is no more. That in itself is a statement that leads you immediately to the people who lived there.
“Selfishly, I haven’t lost a family member. I didn’t lose my house. Yeah, it could have happened, but it didn’t happen… I’m really lucky. Now, what the hell can I do?
“The immediacy is finding people. The immediacy is communicating and knowing who’s here and who’s safe.”
The world-renowned musician says he has decided to speak out in order to keep the tragedy at the forefront of people’s minds.
“What I can do and I’m doing is being an advocate to say ‘pay attention to what is going on’… that’s actually way more helpful than going down and crying in Lahaina… that will happen, I’m sure, but not now.”
Many locals in Lahaina fear affluent outsiders and land developers will see the charred land as a golden goose, something which Fleetwood said he would be “waving a flag” against.
“The thought of it becoming some form of playground with no reference to the dignity of that town, to me, would be abhorrent,” he says.
As scientists warn of climate change fuelling more extreme weather events, Fleetwood says “there are always lessons to be learned”.
He says there should be “a quiet reverence to keeping our eyes and ears open to the world that we live in. And… not living with the continuum of regret, regret and regret.”