CONWAY, Ark. – Wildfires have swept across the Hawaiian Island of Maui, killing more than 50 people.
The government is calling this one of the worst natural disasters the nation has seen, and the largest one Hawaii has ever experienced.
One Arkansas family, who was visiting Maui, counted their blessings as they made it off the island in the nick of time, as the sky turned orange and smoke filled the sky.
The Williams family traveled to Hawaii for their family vacation, to the island of Maui, where they enjoyed exploring and taking in the beautiful landscape.
“We had the best vacation ever, having so much fun, adventures every day,” mother Wendy Williams said.
That all began to change when the day before they were leaving, they woke up to no electricity, and that night, the sky turned orange.
“Watching the sunset, you could see the glow of the fire and again, we didn’t know, all we had heard was, “There was brush fires,'” father Ryan Williams said.
“There was not any communication on what had happened like we talked to people, nobody knew what was happening,” Wendy said.
The Williams family decided they needed to get out, driving in a line of bumper-to-bumper cars to make it to the airport.
By that time, huge smoke clouds were in the air.
“The sides of the streets were littered with people who were stranded all night long, so we decided that we could not just stay there, and we knew that no matter what, we were under HIS protection and that we would be fine,” Wendy said.
Brush fires turned into a massive blaze, killing more than 50 people, and destroying several towns.
“It’s devastating to see what’s happened,” Wendy said.
Now, back in Arkansas, they look at those maps and posters from the towns that are gone.
“This came from the town that burned up and we got it as a souvenir because it’s Arkansas, and it will hold a lot more value to us now because we purchased it in the store two days before the whole town burned up,” Ryan said.
As they wrap their heads around the devastation that has happened, they realize they’re blessed, they made it home.
“You were there two days ago and now it’s not just; the tornado didn’t hit; it is completely burned up and there’s nothing. that part’s a little bit sobering,” Ryan said.
The Red Cross has an account set up to help with the Hawaii Wildfires donations.