The cause of the wildfires that are ravaging large areas of the island of Maui is unknown. A combination of dry and windy weather and the Category 4 Hurricane Dora enabled what was a 1.2 hectare brush fire in Lāhainā to turn into a 880 hectare inferno that claimed the lives of 67 people. As of August 12, there are 96 deaths and approximately 1,000 individuals are unaccounted for.
Now revealing the destination for #PokemonWorlds 2024…
— Play Pokémon @ #PokemonWorlds (@playpokemon) August 13, 2023
Governor Josh Green has said that the devastation is the “worst natural disaster” in the history of Hawai’i and it is the fifth deadliest wildfire to ever occur in the United States.
Expectedly, the Pokémon community is torn over the choice. Some shared their optimism while others said that the announcement should have been postponed as a result of the ongoing tragedy. There was also a current of disappointment that it looked like the issues with tourism to Hawai’i had been overlooked.
In 2022, a state-sponsored survey showed that two-thirds of Hawai’i residents agreed with the statement that their “island is being run for tourists at the expense of local people”.
The majority of tourists are also considered to have not done their due diligence when travelling to the islands, and the unique ecosystems of Hawai’i are only starting to recover as the pandemic stopped all recreational flights to the islands.
“Our hearts go out to all those who have been impacted by the devastating wildfires in Hawai’i,” said The Pokémon Company, and it encouraged fans to support the Hawaii Wildfire Relief Fund if they were able to.