Maui authorities have confirmed that 114 people have been killed in the historic wildfires that have devastated the island. The fires have been burning for over a week, and more than 100 fatalities have been confirmed so far. The Maui Police Department has reported that 78% of the affected area has been searched, and there are no active fire threats as of Friday. County officials have stated that the fires in Lahaina, Kula, and Olinda are at least 85% contained, while the Pulehu/Kihei fire is fully contained. However, reaching full containment does not mean that the fires have been extinguished.
An unsafe water advisory is still in effect in Lahaina and Upper Kula, and it has been expanded to another area. Residents in these areas are advised to use bottled water instead of tap water due to potential harmful contaminants.
The handling of the emergency has faced criticism, with the head of Maui's emergency management agency resigning. Some locals have expressed dissatisfaction with the decision not to use the state's warning siren system during the fires. The former head of the agency defended the decision, stating that using the sirens could have led people into the fire instead of seeking higher ground.
Approximately 1,000 people in Maui remain unaccounted for, according to multiple reports. The cause of the wildfires has been attributed to drought conditions, dry vegetation, and strong winds caused by Hurricane Dora. Reports suggest that the first fire on the island may have been caused by a power line in the woods of the Maui Bird Conservation Center. Hawaiian Electric, the power company servicing the majority of Hawaii's residents, is facing negligence lawsuits from residents who allege failure to maintain equipment and clear vegetation near utility poles. However, the cause of the fire has yet to be determined.
In the aftermath of the wildfires, FEMA has approved over $5.6 million in aid for 2,000 households, including rent and hotel payments. The situation in Maui is ongoing, and authorities are working towards containment and recovery.