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UPDATE: 9 p.m.
Maui County provided an update tonight on multiple wildfires.
The Upcountry/Kula fire initially reported on Aug. 8 is now 75% contained and burned 678 acres.
“Hot spots in gulches, forests and other hard to reach places, along with land divisions and fences, make establishment of complete control lines difficult,” the county reported. Air support was deployed to hit hot spots inside the perimeter during the daytime on Monday.
The Lahaina fire initially reported on Aug. 8 is now 85% contained and burned 2,170 acres. Multiple fire crews are assigned to monitor and address any flare ups. There are no active threats at this time.
The Pulehu/Kihei fire reported on Aug. 8 remains 100% contained. That fire was declared 100 percent contained Saturday. Fire personnel are staying vigilant for flare ups. There are no active threats at this time.
The Puukolii/Kaanapali fire reported on Friday was extinguished Saturday. That fire remains extinguished.
Maui County has released the identities of two victims of the Aug. 8 firestorm that leveled Lahaina, and said the death toll is now 106, up five from earlier today.
“We offer our deepest condolences to the families who are beginning to receive notifications about their loved ones,” said Mayor Richard Bissen. “As a community, we offer our prayers of comfort in this most difficult time.”
Officials said they have identified three other individuals who are pending notification of next of kin.
As of this evening, there are now 106 confirmed fatalities, the county said. This is up from the 101 that Gov. Josh Green announced just before 4 p.m. on CNN.
The confirmed death toll is now at 101 after two more victims were discovered, Gov. Josh Green told the Star-Advertiser today. Green first announced the higher death toll on CNN before posting his update on Facebook. Click here to watch.
Green also said that Lahaina Bypass Road will open tonight limited to residents, first responders, and employees in West Maui from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. — to provide a sense of normalcy for a traumatized community.
Starting Wednesday, the road will open to all motorists daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Access from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. will be limited to residents, first responders, and employees in West Maui from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
A team of federal disaster mortuary and victim identification experts has been deployed to Maui along with more than 22-1/2 tons of supplies and equipment that arrived today to assist with the processing of human remains from the deadly Lahaina wildlife.
As of 9 a.m. the death toll from the Aug. 8 firestorm remained at 99, but officials have warned that number is expected to rise substantially, as only about 32% of the 5-square-mile disaster zone had been searched.
The Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team is meant to augment state and county mortuary resources and includes coroners, pathologists, X-ray and lab technicians and other staff, according to Jonathan Greene, deputy assistant secretary and director of the Office of Response within the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Included in the shipment are examination tables and X-ray and lab equipment, said Greene, speaking during a morning conference call with the news media.
He said a victim identification team will be working at the county’s Family Assistance Center, open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kahului Community Center, where families can report loved ones who are unaccounted for and submit DNA swabs to help identify fire victims.
The DMORT teams have responded to numerous natural disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and the Haiti earthquakes, and has assisted the National Transportation Safety Board at major transportation incidents.
Regarding the Lahaina fire response, “it’s going to be a very, very difficult mission, and patience will be incredibly important because of the number of victims,” Greene said.
As of this morning almost 500 federal personnel had been deployed to Maui to assist residents, the White House said today.
White House deputy press secretary Oliva Dalton said at a daily media briefing that FEMA has deployed over 140 search and rescue personnel, “who have integrated with the Maui Fire Department to help conduct search and rescue operations across a search zone that is several miles wide and encompasses thousands of predominantly residential structures.”
FEMA has also provided 50,000 meals, 75,000 liters of water, 5,000 cots, and 10,000 blankets, plus shelter supplies to the county government for distribution, she said.
Earilier today, the president vowed to visit Maui as soon as his presence would not interfere with the ongoing search and recovery efforts. (See 8:25 a.m. update below.)
The Maui Police Department reports the number of confirmed deaths was still at 99 with four remains that have been identified as of 9 a.m. today. Names will be released after families have been notified, officials said.
Crews have searched about 32 percent of the restricted area, up from 25% Monday, according to county officials.
Thirteen DNA profiles have been obtained from fatalities and officials have obtained 41 DNA samples from families of missing people. To provide DNA samples, family members can go to Family Assistance Center, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kahului Community Center, 275 Uhu St.
According to the latest update, the Upcountry Maui fire is now 60% contained; the Lahaina fire is 85% contained; and the Puukolii/Kaanapali fire has been extinguished.
An estimated 678 acres have burned in Upcountry Maui. “Hot spots in gulches, forests and other hard-to-reach places, along with land divisions and fences, make establishment of complete control lines difficult,” officials said.
The Lahaina fire has an estimated 2,170 acres burned. Multiple fire crews are monitoring and addressing any flare-ups, but there are no active threats at this time.
The National Guard has two military helicopters on standby to assist in any immediate firefighting needs.
The Hawaii National Guard has activated about 258 Army National Guard and Air National Guard personnel to help respond to the fires.
Guard members will offer support to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and local law enforcement agencies and help with command and control efforts, Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said today, according to the Associated Press.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is also helping with debris removal and temporary power. The Corps has deployed 27 personnel — active duty and civilians — and 41 contractor personnel.
Singh said she doesn’t know how many active-duty troops have responded, but said that active-duty forces will be part of the ongoing effort.
President Joe Biden said he and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Maui “as soon as we can,” but that he will wait until his presence won’t disrupt search and recovery efforts underway.
In the meantime, Biden vowed to provide the island with everything needed in the wake of the deadliest U.S. wildfire in over a century.
“Every asset they need will be there on Maui for them. And we will be there as long as it takes,” Biden said today during a trip to Milwaukee, Wis.
Biden said FEMA has already supplied 50,000 meals, 10,000 blankets, and is distributing $700 to affected Maui residents for immediate needs.
The White House said Biden was briefed this morning on the recovery efforts by Gov. Josh Green and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell.
A week after massive wildfires incinerated much of Lahaina and burned 19 homes in Upcountry, the search for remains continues today while the families of located victims who have been identified will begin to be notified.
The Lahaina death toll rose to 99 Monday but Gov. Josh Green warns that the total will climb “very significantly” although he has declined to give an estimate. The Lahaina fire that began Aug. 8 and consumed the historic town is already the deadliest U.S. wildfire in over a century.
During a Maui news conference Monday afternoon, Green said over 200 displaced residents have been placed in temporary housing to initially last 36 weeks, but likely much longer, with government aid covering the costs.
Asked about concerns over predatory buyers trying to purchase destroyed or damaged property for cheap, Gov. Josh Green said he has contacted state Attorney General Anne Lopez about a possible moratorium on sales, saying that he wants to keep property under local ownership and not be bought by anyone “from outside our state.”
Maui Police Chief John Pelletier hopes to have searched 85% to 90% of the buildings and homes by the weekend in a process that Federal Emergency Management Agency search-and-rescue officials call “Phase Zero. There are now 20 cadaver-sniffing dogs searching Lahaina, and the area searched grew from 3% on Saturday to 25% today, he said.
Pelletier said hopes to have searched 85% to 90% of the buildings and homes by the weekend in a process that Federal Emergency Management Agency search-and-rescue officials call “Phase Zero.”
Hawaiian Electric Co. President and CEO Shelee Kimura said over 400 Maui utility poles have been damaged or destroyed; and Maui Fire Chief Brad Ventura said the Lahaina fires is now 85% contained.
In other developments reported Monday night:
>> The Maui Fire Department said the Upcountry/Kula fire as of 7 p.m. was 65% contained and has burned an estimated 678 acres; the Lahaina fire was 85% contained with about 2,170 acres. burned; and the Pulehu/Kihei fire remains 100% contained.
>> Hawaiian Electric says it has restored power to about 80% of the customers who have been without electricity since Tuesday, with about 2,400 customers still without power. The company said crews are working to restore about 100 customers in Upcountry and about 2,300 customers in West Maui.
>> State officials are warning homeowners affected by the Maui wildfires to beware of predatory buyers trying to capitalize upon the fear of foreclosure or the cost of rebuilding to induce owners to sell their properties at below-market prices. Homeowners should be skeptical if they receive unsolicited communications about their properties, they said. And they should alert the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Office of Consumer Protection and the Regulated Industries Complaints Office. Members of the public receiving unsolicited offers should report the name, place of business, telephone number, and address of any person to DCCA’s Consumer Resource Center at 808-587-4272.