Wildfires in Hawaii leave at least 36 dead

Wildfires in Hawaii

Extinguishing teams working on the unprecedented forest fires unleashed on the island of Maui, in the Hawaiian archipelago, have found 36 people dead, official county sources reported this Thursday (08.10.2023).

“As the Lahaina firefighting continues, 36 total deaths have been discovered,” they say on their Twitter account.

The sources do not clarify if these 36 people are added to the six deaths that the authorities reported on Wednesday due to these fires, which have caused the displacement of thousands of people.

In Lahaina, nearly 300 structures have been impacted by the flames, and local officials have documented widespread damage in the city, harbor, and surrounding areas. A federal team is assisting with the search and rescue. 

According to local media, the fires have been fanned by the strong winds of Hurricane Dora, which caused the flames to advance very quickly and forced widespread evacuations and the closure of roads and schools.

Some 2,100 people are in shelters across the island as the battle against the flames continues.

The largest fire began to spread Tuesday in the town of Lahaina, one of the most popular with tourists, forcing many residents to take shelter in the ocean to escape the flames and smoke. They were later rescued by the Coast Guard.

The fires are also affecting Kula, another area of ​​Maui, as well as the Kohala Peninsula on the island of Hawaii.

On Tuesday, Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke activated the Hawaii National Guard to assist with evacuation and disaster response efforts and declared a period of emergency relief that will run through August 15.

Shortly after the news broke, US President Joe Biden sent his condolences to the families of the deceased through a statement and asked the residents of the archipelago to follow the evacuation orders and pay attention to those responsible.