Hawaii wildfire death toll hits 67 as probe launched into blaze response

The death toll from wildfires on Hawaii’s Maui has risen to 67 as search teams combed through the smoldering ruins of Lahaina town and officials sought determine to how the inferno spread so rapidly through the historic resort area with little warning.

Hawaii’s attorney general said on Friday that she was opening a probe into how authorities responded to devastating wildfires that has left at least 67 people dead.

‘The Department of the Attorney General will be conducting a comprehensive review of critical decision-making and standing policies leading up to, during, and after the wildfires on Maui and Hawaii islands this week,’ the office of Attorney General Anne Lopez said in a statement.

The fires have become the deadliest natural disaster in Hawaii’s history, surpassing that of a tsunami that killed 61 people on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1960, a year after Hawaii joined the United States.

Fuelled by dry conditions, hot temperatures, and strong winds from a passing hurricane, at least three wildfires erupted on Maui this week, racing through parched brush covering the island.

Maui County officials said in an online statement that firefighters continued to battle the blaze, which was not yet fully contained. Residents of Lahaina were being allowed to return home for the first time to assess the damage.

Source: Somali National News Agency