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Maui wildfire death toll climbs as hot spots flare

Officials have confirmed 96 fatalities from the Maui wildfire, but firefighters aren't done battling the blaze.
Posted at 7:23 AM, Aug 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-14 07:23:52-04

Several wildfires continue to burn in Maui as of early Monday as officials raise the death toll from one of the deadliest wildfires in U.S. history. 

According to Maui County, officials have confirmed 96 fatalities after a wildfire swept through the resort town of Lahaina. That fire is 85% contained as of Monday morning, with firefighters continuing to monitor for flare-ups. That wildfire has also scorched 2,170 acres of land. 

A fire several miles away in the Upcountry and Kula regions of Maui have burned 678 acres. Officials said that the wildfire is 60% contained, but hot spots remain in gulches and other hard-to-reach places. Maui County said air support will be used on Monday to try to get an upper hand on the hot spots. 

Officials have also ordered a boil alert for drinking water for those in Lahaina and some surrounding communities. 

Hawaii authorities urge tourists to refrain from traveling to Maui
Burnt areas in Lahaina on the Maui island, Hawaii.

Hawaii authorities urge tourists to refrain from traveling to Maui

Officials are encouraging travelers who have arrangements to stay in Maui in the "coming weeks and months" to postpone their trip.

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As of Saturday night, 2,200 structures in Lahaina and 544 buildings in Kula were damaged or destroyed. The state estimates damages to reach $6 billion. 

Gov. Josh Green welcomed Federal Emergency Management Agency officials on Sunday to examine the aftermath in Lahaina. He said 500 rooms will be set aside for housing, paid for by FEMA. 

The White House said President Joe Biden spoke with Deanne Criswell on Sunday following her tour of the aftermath.

In the meantime, officials are working with residents to allow them to return to gather their belongings. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the town of Lahaina has a population of 12,702 residents.