Monday, 26 Feb 2024

'Apocalyptic' Hawaii wildfires kill at least 36 people on Maui island

At least 36 people have died as fast-moving wildfires continue to tear through Maui, Hawaii, county officials said.

At least three wildfires have been raging on the island of Maui since Tuesday, sending people swimming into the Pacific Ocean.

‘As the firefighting efforts continue, 36 total fatalities have been discovered today amid the active Lāhainā fire,’ a Maui county press release issued Wednesday evening local time said.

‘No other details are available at this time.’

A spokesperson said all of those who died were in the historic town of Lāhainā, West Maui, according to Hawaii NewsNow.

Federal and state officials said at a press conference from the Hawai’i Convention Center at 9pm that the state remains in crisis mode.

Recovery may take years, lieutenant governor Sylvia Luke said, with a school, church and business among the buildings damaged by the blaze.

‘This is a really tragic moment, for not just Maui County, not just the people of Maui, it’s for the entire state,’ she told reporters,

‘We just want to thank so many people who have stepped up to help.’

Lāhainā local Clint Hansen told CNN that the town, on the northwest side of the island, has been gutted by the wildfires.

‘People jumping in the ocean to escape the flames, being rescued by the Coast Guard. All boat owners are being asked to rescue people,’ he said.

‘It’s apocalyptic.’

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