Maui Wildfires: Death Toll Rises to 93, Making it the Deadliest Wildfire in Modern US History

On Saturday (August 12), Maui County officials provided a grim update on the rising death toll as search and rescue teams make their way through the rubble, debris, and ashes left behind as a result of the Maui wildfires – which have been ravaging through the island of Maui, Hawai’i since Tuesday (August 8).  

In the update, they confirmed that the number of fatalities had risen to 93 – it was previously reported at 80 – and that only two of those bodies have been identified. Officials have also warned that the death toll may continue to rise in the coming days with more than 1,000 people still missing and/or unaccounted for.

They also confirmed that firefighting crews continue to extinguish flare-ups in recent days – adding that the Pulehu/Kīhei fire is 100% contained at this point and that the Lahaina fire is about 85% contained. Unfortunately, the damage has already been done with more than 2,200 structures destroyed in Lahaina.

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With the death toll rising to 93, the Maui wildfires are now the worst natural disaster the state of Hawai’i has ever seen and the deadliest wildfire the United States has seen in over 100 years. More than 2,100 acres have burned to ashes and a majority of the island’s historic landmarks are no longer standing. 

To put the death toll in perspective, the 2018 Camp Fire claimed the lives of 85 people and left another 17 injured (five of whom were firefighters) – though it burned through a massive 150,000+ acres and left more than 18,000 structures destroyed. It only took a couple of hours for most of the damage to occur. 

In their recent update, Maui county officials announced that Kaiser Permanente outpatient health and medical clinics will operate 12 hours per day at several locations and two free Wi-Fi trucks are ‘stationed at Napili Park and Honokowai Park to provide Wi-Fi service and the ability to charge cellphones.’

Likewise, the Lahaina Gateway Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday (August 14) for those who need food, water, and other supplies. Anyone looking to donate food, water, coolers, slippers, flashlights, underwear, generators, and other items can do so at the War Memorial Complex on Sunday.

Gov. Josh Green Says Maui Wildfires ‘Will Bring Hawai’i Together’

In a press conference on Saturday (August 12), Hawai’i Gov. Josh Green expressed optimism that this natural disaster will unify the state stronger than it ever has been before, but also offered a warning to Hawai’i residents that it’ll come with its fair share of emotional turmoil and tragedy – if it hasn’t already. 

“This will bring Hawaii together, but prepare yourself for the emotional turmoil because if I feel it — and I have the experience as an emergency guy who saw tragedy in the course of 25 years in the hospital — it will be shocking to a lot of other people,” he said – for context, he’s a practicing emergency physician. 

For those who need a refresher, the Maui wildfires started terrorizing the island on August 8 – officials say Hurricane Dora contributed to the high winds and dangerous fire conditions (the heat and drought also played a role). A majority of the damage was reported in Lahaina, but other towns were damaged as well.

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The Maui wildfires have resulted in more than 13,000 people being evacuated – though that number is likely much larger now – and thousands of others staying in evacuation shelters. The damage will take several years to recover from and will cost more than $6 billion, according to current estimates. Our hearts go out to anyone and everyone affected.

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