Rapid City firefighter, stationed thousands of miles away, watches as his hometown in Maui burns

A Rapid City firefighter who grew up in Maui is concerned for family and friends.
Published: Aug. 12, 2023 at 11:23 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The wildfire on Maui might be 3,400 miles from the Black Hills of South Dakota, but one Rapid City firefighter has been keeping an eye on the blaze carefully and remembering the paradise where he grew up.

The cause of the fires on Maui is still undetermined. The erratic winds, challenging terrain, and low humidity made the spread and speed of the wildfires difficult to predict.

One of the hardest hit areas, Lahaina, has mostly been destroyed.

Scott Craig is a firefighter and EMT with the Rapid City Fire Department. He grew up in the area of Lahaina until he moved to Rapid City in his teens. He still has family and friends on the island of Maui. Craig stated “Multiple family and friends of mine have lost their homes” adding “And that includes the elementary school where I grew up at, and also the elementary school that my mother taught at for I think about 12 years she taught there.”

Craig’s first responder friends are out doing what they’ve been trained for. “They’ve been picking up people out of the harbor -- because they are jumping in the water”

While the climate between Lahaina and the Black Hills may be very different, Craig finds that there are many similarities between his childhood home and where he now hangs his hat. “Just like Lahaina, Rapid City is similar when it comes to all that urban interface, where our structures are surrounded by these beautiful trees, beautiful grass, but it’s super important to keep up on maintenance around your homes so that you’re eliminating those fuel sources that can spread.”

If you would like to help those affected by the wildfire, here’s how you can help those impacted: Gray and The Salvation Army team up to bring ‘Hope for Hawaii’