Home Headlines Death toll from Maui wildfires reaches 96

Death toll from Maui wildfires reaches 96

by Sofia Navarro
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Crews in West Maui are continuing the heart-wrenching task of sifting through the ashes of what used to be homes and beloved landmarks ravaged by the deadliest U.S. wildfire in over 100 years, and the death toll continues to rise.

As of now, at least 96 deaths have been confirmed from the wildfires, and there are still missing individuals as search teams with cadaver dogs scour the decimated neighborhoods for remains.

Devastation is what remains after several simultaneous wildfires began spreading erratically last Tuesday, suddenly leaping onto homes and engulfing them, forcing harrowing escapes and displacing thousands.

“This is the largest natural disaster we have ever experienced,” said Hawaii Governor Josh Green in a press conference Saturday night. “It’s also going to be a natural disaster that’s going to take an incredible amount of time to recover from.”

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While the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) stated on Saturday that it was premature to assign even a rough dollar estimate to the damage caused in Maui, the governor estimated “losses are approaching $6 billion.”

Despite authorities taking stock of the losses and ongoing work to identify lost loved ones, the tragedy has not abated.

While firefighters have made progress in battling the three largest wildfires, the deadly fire in heavily affected Lahaina is still not fully under control, said Maui County Fire Chief Brad Ventura on Saturday.

Here’s what we know about the fires, their cost on the island, and the mountain of work ahead:

The most destructive and deadly of the fires, the Lahaina wildfire, spread at an extraordinary rate, the governor said in a video update Sunday afternoon.

The meteorological service had issued a “red flag warning” on Monday due to dry conditions, gusty winds, and low humidity combining to set the stage for critical fire weather conditions.

Last Tuesday afternoon, winds associated with powerful Hurricane Dora passing hundreds of kilometers south of Hawaii were fanning the flames of already burning wildfires, and multiple evacuations were announced for the Lahaina and Upcountry Maui fires.

Flames leaped across roads and suddenly appeared in people’s yards and homes.

The fire was moving “down to the ground and structure to structure, incredibly fast so it overran anything the firefighters could have done in the first hours,” he added.

As of 3 pm local time on Sunday, the Lahaina fire, spreading across 878.2 hectares, was 85% contained. Meanwhile, the Upcountry or Kula fire was 60% contained and estimated at 274.4 hectares.

TYT Newsroom

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