Maui Wildfires Now Deadliest US Blaze In 100 Years; Only 3% Of Area Searched

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Aug 14, 2023 - 07:20 PM

Hawaii officials confirmed the death toll has climbed to 96 following the catastrophic wildfire that swept across a resort town on the island of Maui last week, making it the deadliest US wildfire in a century.

"Maui Police Department around 9 p.m. said there are 96 confirmed fatalities," the Maui County local government wrote in an update Sunday night. This is an uptick from the previous count of 93, and with cadaver dogs searching devastated neighborhoods, the number is likely going to move higher. 

At 96, the Maui fire surpassed the 2018 Camp Fire in Paradise, California, which killed 85 but remained under the 1918 Cloquet fire in Minnesota and Wisconsin, which claimed at least 453 lives. 

"This is the largest natural disaster we've ever experienced," Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said at a Saturday night news conference.

Green said, "It's going to also be a natural disaster that's going to take an incredible amount of time to recover from." He added the official death toll is "going to rise."

Local officials have so far estimated that the reconstruction of Lahaina's charred town will cost at least $5 billion. At least 2,700 building structures were destroyed in town, of which a majority were homes. 

An investigation into the fires' origins is ongoing. "Investigators are likely to consider several possible sources that sparked the blazes, including a campfire, lightning, transmission equipment and the electric grid," The Wall Street Journal said, citing longtime fire investigators and electrical-grid experts. 

The suspicion of power lines as the source of the fire sent Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. shares crashing on Monday morning, down 41% to $19.32. 

Only 3% of the disaster area has been searched by cadaver dogs, Hawaiian officials said over the weekend. It's unclear how many people are missing. 

"We only have 3% of the search done and they want to be meticulous and do it right. So right now they're going street by street and block by block, they're doing cars and soon they'll start to enter buildings," Retired Maj. Jeff Hickman, a spokesperson for Hawaii's Department of Defense, said. 

Hawaii National Guard has been deployed to assist locals while 400 FEMA personnel with cadaver dogs search the area. At 96 deaths with only 3% of the area searched, well, this only means the death toll will rise. 

Where is Joe Biden?

Sitting on Rehoboth Beach, of course.