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Maui wildfire’s death toll reaches 93, marking a century’s worst blaze

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Maui wildfire’s death toll reaches 93, marking a century’s worst blaze

The death toll from the Maui wildfires in Hawaii has tragically reached 93, marking the deadliest U.S. wildfire in over a century.

This number is likely to rise as cadaver dogs continue their search through the ruins of Lahaina. The scale of the destruction became clearer four days after a swift-moving blaze decimated the historic resort town, reducing buildings to rubble and cars to melted remnants.

The estimated cost to rebuild Lahaina is a staggering $5.5 billion, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The blaze damaged or destroyed more than 2,200 structures, scorching over 2,100 acres (850 hectares) of land.

Hawaii Governor Josh Green, speaking at a press conference, sadly predicted that the death toll would continue to rise as more victims were discovered.

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The search dogs, trained to detect bodies, have only covered 3% of the designated search area, said Maui County Police Chief John Pelletier.

In light of the tragic events, officials have pledged to review the state’s emergency notification systems.

Some residents have questioned whether more could have been done to warn them before the fire engulfed their homes, forcing some to seek refuge in the Pacific Ocean.

In response to the crisis, the state’s attorney general, Anne Lopez, announced a review of the decision-making process leading up to and during the fire.

Governor Green also authorized a review of the emergency response. Officials have recounted a nightmarish combination of factors contributing to the disaster, including failures in the communications network, hurricane-induced wind gusts of up to 80 miles per hour (130 kph), and a separate wildfire occurring miles away.

These factors hindered real-time coordination with the emergency management agency responsible for issuing warnings and evacuation orders.

This tragic inferno, which ignited on Tuesday, has become Hawaii’s most devastating natural disaster, surpassing a tsunami that claimed 61 lives in 1960, a year after Hawaii became a U.S. state.

The current death toll exceeds the 85 individuals who lost their lives in a 2018 fire in the town of Paradise, California.

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