The wildfires which have killed at the very least 55 in Maui are burning on an island that additionally comprises the part-time houses of billionaires, together with Oprah Winfrey, Peter Thiel and Jeff Bezos.
The presence of celebrities and tech executives on the island has previously created tension with locals. Few of the high-profile house owners have commented publicly on the standing of their houses in the course of the hearth disaster.
Representatives for Ms. Winfrey, who has lived in Maui part-time for greater than 15 years, didn’t reply to a request for remark. In response to Architectural Digest, her portfolio of roughly 1,000 acres on the island consists of 870 acres in Kula, an space southeast of Lahaina the place firefighting efforts have been underway on Thursday. Throughout brush fires in 2019, she gave Maui County access to a personal highway on the property to help with evacuations.
The seclusion and pure great thing about Maui have lengthy attracted celebrities, together with Steven Tyler, Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Willie Nelson and Jim Carrey. It has additionally drawn a collection of tech executives, who’ve bought among the most costly properties on the island.
In 2011, Thiel, the founding father of Pay Pal, paid $27 million for a house in Makena, on the southwest coast of Maui, which The Wall Street Journal reported was then the costliest buy of a single-family residence within the county. Makena is roughly 10 miles from fires burning in South Maui.
Final 12 months, the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, one of many richest males on Earth, bought a 14-acre property on La Perouse Bay for an estimated $78 million. The bay is lower than 20 miles south of fires in South Maui.
Mr. Bezos’s accomplice, Lauren Sánchez, posted on Threads, a brand new messaging app linked to Instagram, that the wildfires have been “past heartbreaking.” She wrote that “Jeff and I’ve been on the cellphone with native residents and officers, and can be making donations to assist.”
In 2012, the Oracle govt Larry Ellison bought 98 percent of Lanai, a Maui County island the place Invoice and Melinda Gates have been married in 1994. Lanai doesn’t at the moment seem to have been broken by the blaze.
Mick Fleetwood, the drummer for the band Fleetwood Mac, mentioned in a statement posted on Facebook that the restaurant he owned in Lahaina had been destroyed. He didn’t reply to a request for touch upon the standing of his residence, which can be in West Maui.
“Maui and the Lahaina group have been my residence for a number of many years,” he wrote. “This can be a devastating second for Maui, and lots of are struggling unimaginable loss.”