Maui Death Toll Rises
The number of confirmed victims of last week's devastating wildfires in Maui rose to at least 93 over the weekend as search and rescue teams began working through the remains of the town of Lahaina. The disaster is the deadliest US wildfire in more than 100 years, surpassing California's 2018 Camp Fire, which left 85 people dead and caused more than $10B in damage.
The specific cause of the Maui fires has not been determined. However, once ignited, the flames were fed by dry conditions and fanned by high wind gusts from nearby Hurricane Dora (see previous write-up). The fires in Lahaina reportedly outpaced emergency responders and left panicked residents little time to evacuate. Experts have also pointed to longer-term effects that likely exacerbated conditions, including extra flammable nonnative grasses and shrubs that have spread across the islands.
The death toll is likely to rise, officials warned, with cadaver dogs having searched less than 3% of the affected area as of yesterday. See photos of the aftermath here.