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Maui wildfires live updates: Hawaii AG announces independent review of fire response

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Officials say the wildfires that erupted on the Hawaiian island of Maui on Aug. 8 have become the deadliest natural disaster in state history.

The blazes spread rapidly due to very dry conditions stemming from a drought combined with powerful winds. Much of the historic town of Lahaina has been “destroyed,” officials said, and the inferno has burned thousands of residential and commercial buildings to the ground.

Dozens of people have been confirmed dead, with even more missing.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Aug 17, 5:57 PM EDT
FEMA launches website to dispel rumors

Following reports of misinformation over the federal government’s response to the wildfires, the Federal Emergency Management Agency launched a website that includes frequently asked questions and dispels rumors.

The website, which will be updated regularly, will help “to keep survivors of the Hawaii wildfires aware of rumors and scams, and to help them better understand the federal disaster assistance programs and processes,” the agency said in a statement.

Some of the misinformation dispelled so far on the site included falsehoods that FEMA charges for inspections and that the agency only provides disaster assistance if an applicant forfeits their land.

-ABC News’ Luke Barr

Aug 17, 5:27 PM EDT
Hawaii AG to use third party company to conduct independent review of fire response

Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez announced Thursday that she is engaging with a third party “with experience in emergency management” to conduct an investigation into last week’s deadly wildfires.

“We intend to look at this critical incident to facilitate any necessary corrective action and to advance future emergency preparedness,” Lopez said in a statement.

The attorney general said the independent review will likely be a “months-long effort,” and the information collected by the third party will be “used to assess the performance in emergency preparedness as we are constantly looking for ways to improve.”

Aug 17, 4:44 PM EDT
40% of area searched, with death toll remaining at 111

Forty-percent of the impacted area on Maui has been searched, with the death toll remaining at 111, Maui County officials said Thursday.

The Olinda fire, Kula fire and Lahaina fire are 85%, 80% and 89% contained, respectively, officials said, adding that there are no active threats.

Electricity has been restored to more than 80% of the customers who lost power, officials said.

Emergency shelters housed 166 people overnight Wednesday, officials said. Another 279 people were relocated from shelters to hotels.

Residents heading to Lahaina to check on their homes are urged to be careful of the debris, as well as ash which could “contain toxic and cancer-causing chemicals including asbestos, arsenic and lead,” officials warned.

Aug 17, 11:11 AM EDT
FEMA administrator: ‘So much more worse once you see it in person’

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, who has toured the devastation on Maui, told ABC News’ GMA3 that “it really just seems so much more worse once you see it in person.”

She called it a “really complicated search and recovery mission,” adding, “It’s going to be a complicated debris removal mission once we account for everybody that’s missing.”

Criswell said FEMA is working closely with state partners and the American Red Cross to find shelter for displaced residents.

“We’re already working on what the long-term housing is going to look like,” she said Thursday. “We convened yesterday at the White House with all of the deputy secretaries from the Cabinet-level agencies to talk about resources that we can bring in.”

“We’re putting every resource available and creative solutions to come up with ways that we can help Maui and help the government of Hawaii,” Criswell continued. “When I talked to the governor, he already had started a housing assessment based on the limited housing that they have. This is going to be a really great starting off point for us to help implement some of the vision he had and use that planning to help with the long-term recovery housing issues.”

Aug 17, 1:44 AM EDT
111 confirmed dead; Fires chief warns residents to stay vigilant with fires still burning

At least 111 people have died since the wildfires broke out on Maui on Aug. 8, the Maui Police Department confirmed with a “heavy heart” on Wednesday night.

Three more individuals have been identified, bringing the total to nine. The families of five of the victims have been notified, but the families of four of the identified victims have not been located or notified.

“MPD and assisting partners have been working tirelessly to ensure that proper protocols are followed while notifying the families of the victims involved,” the police department shared in a post on the Maui County website Wednesday. “Our priority is to handle this situation with the utmost sensitivity and respect for those who are grieving.”

With fires still burning, at Wednesday afternoon’s news conference Maui County Fire Chief Brad Ventura asked the public to “remain vigilant” if the winds pick up.

At the same news conference, Maui Mayor Richard Bisson shared an update on how community members are coming together to help each other.

“We’ve had 682 volunteers – community volunteers; not Red Cross, not FEMA, but our own citizens who have been working at War Memorial Gymnasium shelter,” he said.

Aug 16, 7:56 PM EDT
Death toll increases to 110, 38% of impact zone searched: Governor

The death toll from the fires is now at 110, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green told reporters at a news conference Wednesday.

The governor said more personnel and resources, including 10 extra cadaver dogs, have been deployed to the affected areas. Roughly 38% of the impact zone has been searched, he said.

Green said roughly 2,000 Maui Electric Company customers are still without power and cautioned that it could take a long time for restoration.

-ABC News’ Jenna Harrison

Aug 16, 6:19 PM EDT
Portable morgue units helping identify victims, FEMA says

Portable morgue units are helping identify victims of the wildfire and process their remains, FEMA officials told reporters Wednesday.

The first units arrived in Hawaii on Tuesday and consist of exam tables, X-ray units and lab equipment.

The death toll remains at 106 people, with 35% of the disaster zone searched, Maui County and state officials said in an update.

As of 11:30 a.m. local time Wednesday, 35 autopsies had been completed and seven victims identified — up from five on Tuesday — county officials said.

-ABC News’ Anne Flaherty and Jennifer Watts

Aug 16, 6:07 PM EDT
South Korea donates $2 million in aid to Hawaii

South Korea has donated $2 million to Hawaii in support of Maui fire relief, officials said.

The Hawaii Community Foundation said the donation will help support the short-, mid- and long-term recovery of Lahaina, including addressing medical needs and helping families displaced by the fires.

Aug 16, 5:01 PM EDT
1st reported fire may have been caused by damaged power lines

The first fire reported on Maui may have been caused by damaged power lines, according to Bob Marshall, CEO of the power monitoring company Whisker Labs.

On Aug. 7 at 10:47 p.m., a security camera at the Maui Bird Conservation Center captured a bright flash in the woods that, according to Jennifer Pribble, a senior research coordinator at the conservation center, may have been a tree falling on a power line. After that, the power went out, she said.

The fire was reported shortly after midnight, according to Maui County officials.

A view of a neighborhood that was destroyed by a wildfire, Aug. 16, 2023 in Lahaina, Hawaii.
According to Marshall, that bright flash seen on video was likely an explosion from a power line fault, meaning the power line came into contact with something like a tree or vegetation.

Marshall told ABC News that its sensors at Maui homes recorded a “very sharp drop in electrical voltage” at precisely the same time the flash was seen on the security video.

“The grid was incredibly stressed Monday night and throughout the day on Tuesday,” Marshall said. “It was trying to deal with the winds that it was encountering. and what our network clearly documents is that there were 122 faults that occurred throughout that time period, any one of which could have ignited a fire.”

-ABC News’ Emmanuelle Saliba

Aug 16, 2:28 PM EDT
Maui facing ‘very long and hard recovery,’ FEMA warns

Maui is facing a “very long and hard recovery,” FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell said at Wednesday’s White House briefing.

Criswell called the response a “very active and dynamic situation” with FEMA search and rescue teams continuing to work closely with state officials to look for those who are missing.

She said 30 specialists from the Department of Health and Human Services’ mortuary teams are in Maui and will soon be joined by a team from the Department of Defense to help identify loved ones.

At least 40 canine search teams are also on the island, “in addition to hundreds of search and rescue personnel, with more on the way,” she said. “We’re working carefully to search the affected areas thoroughly and compassionately while respecting all of the cultural sensitivities.”

Criswell spoke to how difficult and lengthy this search operation will be for the canines to endure the heat and maneuver through the fire debris.

“They have to deal with issues with their paws, walking through glass and debris. And in these conditions, the dogs require frequent rest, which is why we are sending in additional dogs to augment the operation,” she said.

FEMA has given $2.3 million in assistance to families. She said there’s resources to pay for home repairs, cars and appliances, but only 1,300 households are registered with FEMA so far.

She urged residents to “register for assistance with FEMA, with either our staff on the ground through our website at , or by calling 1-800- 621-3362.”

Before the briefing, Criswell updated President Joe Biden on the recovery efforts. Criswell said Biden spoke with Hawaii’s governor again on Wednesday and approved the state’s request for 100% reimbursement for the emergency work that’s being done “for a period of 30 days within the first 120 days at the governor’s choosing.”

Criswell said that when Biden visits Maui on Monday, “he’s going to be able to bring hope.”

“He’s going to speak with the governor and the state’s first lady, and talk to survivors and hear their stories,” Criswell said. “And it’s that level of hope that I think is going to really be a positive impact for this community.”

-ABC News’ Justin Gomez

Aug 16, 11:21 AM EDT
3,000 pets missing from Lahaina

Katie Shannon of the Maui Humane Society estimates that 3,000 pets are missing from wildfire-ravaged Lahaina.

So far, the Maui Humane Society has received 52 injured animals, including some suffering from smoke inhalation and some with burns, Shannon told ABC News.

“We have also seen severe burns — cats that look, I don’t think that their owner may even know that it is their cat because they look so burnt. Their ears are burnt, their faces are burnt. It’s just incredibly severe,” Shannon said.

The Maui Humane Society is not only sending food and supplies to the hardest-hit areas, but is also trying to reunite owners with their pets. A dog named Roman was separated from his pet sitter during the fire when the sitter jumped into the ocean and Roman refused to follow. Roman, who was missing for a couple days, was found by a good Samaritan, taken to the humane society and, thanks to his microchip, was reunited with his owners.

“That is our goal — to reunite every pet and owner, and also to provide the lifesaving care that these pets need,” Shannon said.

The Maui Humane Society is sending many of the animals it had on site before the fires to the mainland to make room for the animals coming in from the Lahaina area.

-ABC News’ Will Carr and Timmy Truong

Aug 16, 9:10 AM EDT
Bidens to visit wildfire-ravaged Maui

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Maui on Monday “to meet with first responders, survivors, as well as federal, state, and local officials, in the wake of deadly wildfires on the island,” according to the White House.

“In Maui, the President and First Lady will be welcomed by state and local leaders to see firsthand the impacts of the wildfires and the devastating loss of life and land that has occurred on the island, as well as discuss the next steps in the recovery effort,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement on Wednesday. “The President continues to marshal a whole-of-government response to the deadly Maui fires, and he has committed to delivering everything that the people of Hawaii need from the federal government as they recover from this disaster.”

Aug 16, 8:39 AM EDT
Many of the dead ‘were on the road down by the sea,’ Hawaii governor says

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said Wednesday that many of those killed by the wildfires on Maui have been found near the ocean.

The death toll currently stands at 106, while 27% of the affected area “has been covered,” according to Green.

“Although many of the fatalities were on the road down by the sea,” the governor told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview Wednesday on Good Morning America.

“We have an enormous team on the ground,” he added.

There are 185 rescuers with 20 dogs in the “impact zone” going through each building and house, or what’s left of them. They are now “moving from initial phase of the recovery deep into the acute phase,” according to Green.

The governor told ABC News that the death toll “will increase,” but officials “hope” the figure won’t reach “further catastrophic proportions.”

“We just don’t know yet,” he said.

A road running east to west on Maui was reopened Wednesday night. From 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time, people can drive “freely” on that road across the island. The National Guard will be stationed alongside the road so members of the public can’t go into the affected area. From 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. local time, the road will be closed except for emergency drop-offs and local residents, according to Green.

“We have to be very careful not to disturb the scene so we can do the necessary recovery,” he said.

The governor told ABC News that he’s made “multiple trips” into the “impact zone.”

“This was a tragic combination of both a fire and a hurricane, which meant that, well, extremely high temperatures were traveling at 60 to 81 mph and it swept through, in some cases melting metal and granite and engine blocks — that’s how hot it was,” he said. “So it’s a very delicate scene. There are toxic metals and asbestos down there.”

Green expressed how “grateful” he and the rest of Hawaii is “for everyone’s outpouring of support.”

“Though the workload’s extraordinary and our hearts are broken, we will get through it,” he added. “We just are still kind of in the thick of doing recovery.”

Aug 16, 6:58 AM EDT
Japan pledges $2 million in aid to Hawaii wildfire victims

Japan announced Wednesday that it will provide $2 million in assistance for the victims of the wildfires in Hawaii.

The aid will be provided through the American Red Cross and the Japan Platform, both nonprofits.

“Japan will actively provide assistance for the relief of the victims and the earliest possible recovery of the affected areas,” the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Wednesday.

Aug 16, 1:33 AM EDT
Death toll rises to 106 in Maui wildfires

At least 106 people died in the wildfires in Maui, local officials said on Tuesday.

Aug 15, 11:05 PM EDT
President Biden to visit Maui ‘in the coming weeks’

Gov. Josh Green said he spoke with President Joe Biden on Tuesday, who remains “heartsick” over what’s happened on Maui. He said the president won’t be coming immediately, though.

“President Biden and I will work out a time for him to come when the tough work is done, when the heartbreaking work is done on the ground, finding those we’ve lost,” Green said in his video address. “He was so sensitive about that. He did not want to interfere with the incredibly difficult emotional and physical work that goes on in a disaster zone.”

Aug 15, 11:02 PM EDT
Hawaii governor shares support from Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green again shared his commitment to keeping the land in Maui in the hands of Maui residents at his latest press briefing Tuesday night — adding that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shared his support on the issue.

The Rock “was sharing with me his desire to see the land stay in the hands of the people. We agree completely on that,” Green said. “I was really impressed by his passion for our loved ones here in the state of Hawaii.”

Green went on to say that if someone “behaves in a predatory fashion to someone suffering right now” and tries to “buy land out from under them,” as governor he will not allow building or rezoning.

Additionally, Green announced he has ordered the opening of the Lahaina bypass to give residents, first responders and employees access to West Maui, beginning Tuesday at 6 p.m. Hawaiian Standard Time and through Wednesday morning. And between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Wednesday, it will open up for everyone else.

Aug 15, 10:33 PM EDT
101 people confirmed dead

The death toll in the Maui fires has risen to 101, Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said Tuesday night during his latest news briefing.

Aug 15, 10:31 PM EDT
32% of area has been searched, fourth victim IDed: Officials

Maui officials released an update Tuesday about their search and recovery efforts and said 32% of the area has been searched.

A fourth deceased victim was identified, but no names will be released until after family members are notified, officials said.

Officials said they are continuing to collect DNA samples from families to help identify the deceased. As of Tuesday evening, 13 DNA profiles have been obtained from fatalities, and 41 DNA samples have been obtained from family members of missing people, officials said.

Aug 15, 4:26 PM EDT
Damage assessment only 25% done: Governor

Gov. Josh Green told Honolulu ABC affiliate KITV Tuesday that anxious residents need to give first responders and crews more time to assess the damage in “ground zero of the fire.”

Green said firefighters are 25% done with their assessment.

“I’m hoping and praying and working all these things, that by the end of the weekend, the firefighters and the police have said, ‘OK, we’ve done enough,"” he said.

The governor also noted that families will still need their space as officials work to identify the bodies recovered so far.

“Only three of the bodies that we recovered had enough fingerprint to share who they were,” he said.

Green said that some of the bodies are those of families, including three children of a family of four who were found inside a car.

The governor said he was appreciative so far of the support from President Joe Biden, who called him Tuesday morning, and the federal government.

-ABC News’ Jennifer Watts

Aug 15, 2:23 PM EDT
Biden addresses wildfires, pledges support ‘as long as it takes’

President Joe Biden addressed the current situation in Maui during an event in Milwaukee Tuesday afternoon and reiterated the federal government’s commitment to helping the millions of people affected.

“Every asset, every asset they need will be there for them. And we will be there in Maui as long as it takes,” he said.

Biden said the recovery and cleanup processes will be difficult because crews are still trying to determine the number of dead bodies.

“Imagine being a mom or dad wondering where your child is. Imagine being a husband or wife, a mother, a father. It’s really tough stuff,” he said.

Biden spoke with Gov. Josh Green earlier in the day and is planning on visiting the island along with the first lady.

“I don’t want to get in the way,” he said. “But I want to go, make sure we got everything they need. I want to be sure we don’t disrupt the ongoing recovery efforts.”

Aug 15, 12:54 PM EDT
US attorney warns of charity scams

As residents of Maui begin to recover from the wildfire, the U.S. attorney for Hawaii pressed people to be careful about scams.

U.S. Attorney Clare Connors flagged several potential scams that target displaced residents.

She warned of people who use the names of well-known charities to solicit donations for themselves, impersonate government officials or insurance provider representatives or solicit victims to invest in nonexistent businesses and ventures offering recovery services such as cleanup.

“Moreover, victims are frequently further victimized by property theft of businesses and residences abandoned during the disaster,” Connors said in a statement.

Connors said anyone who has been targeted by fraudsters or been the victim of disaster-related fraud are encouraged to contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 866-720-5721.

Aug 15, 7:28 AM EDT
60 people who were ‘missing’ found safe in a house

As wildfires continue to burn on Maui, officials said hundreds of people remain unaccounted for.

But 60 people who were deemed missing were found safe in a single house on Wednesday, ABC News has learned.

Officials are now using the term “unaccounted for” instead of “missing” because many people on the Hawaiian island have no power, internet or phones and can’t get in touch with relatives or authorities.

Aug 15, 6:50 AM EDT
Latest wind forecast for Hawaii

Wind speeds are expected to pick up over Hawaii from Tuesday through Thursday, as a high pressure to the north strengthens while a tropical storm passes to the south.

The latest weather forecast shows winds will be around 25 to 35 mph across the island state on Tuesday, with locally higher gusts possible.

Overall, these are dry trade winds, so the chances of rain are low.

This comes as firefighters struggle to contain deadly wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Dry and windy conditions have helped fan the flames.

Aug 15, 5:27 AM EDT
Lahaina fire now 85% contained, officials say

The wildfire in the historic Maui town of Lahaina has burned a total of 2,170 acres since Aug. 8 and is 85% contained as of Wednesday night, according to a press release from Maui County.

“Multiple fire crews are assigned to monitor and address any flareups,” the county said of the Lahaina fire. “There are no active threats at this time.”

Meanwhile, the Upcountry/Kula wildfire, which was initially reported on Aug. 8, has burned a total of 678 acres and is now 65% contained. Air support was deployed during the daytime on Monday to hit hot spots, according to Maui County.

“Hot spots in gulches and other hard to reach places, along with land divisions and fences, make establishment of complete control lines difficult,” the county said of the Upcountry/Kula fire.

The Pulehu/Kihei wildfire, also initially reported on Aug. 8, was declared 100% contained on Saturday and remains so. However, 100% containment does not mean the blaze has been extinguished, but rather it means firefighters have the flames fully surrounded by a perimeter, according to Maui County.

“Fire personnel are staying vigilant for flare-ups,” the county said of the Pulehu/Kihei fire. “There are no active threats at this time.”

The Pu’ukoli’i/Kaanapali wildfire, which was initially reported on Aug. 11, was extinguished on Saturday and remains so. It burned a total of 1 acre, according to Maui County.

Aug 15, 1:00 AM EDT
Hawaii governor says more help is on the way

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said at a news conference Monday night that 2,000 rooms have been secured for those displaced by the Maui fires. Also, help is coming in the form of hundreds of mental health care professionals from Hawaii and other states, with Hawaii waving its licensing requirements to make this happen.

Green also announced that 25% of the impacted areas have been searched. There are 20 cadaver dog teams who are continuing to search. They hope to have covered 85-90% of the search area by the weekend. On Tuesday, the governor said family members of those victims who have been identified will receive notifications. Fingerprinting has only allowed for three positive IDs so far.

Maui Police Chief Pelletier said at the news conference that one person had been arrested for trespassing in Lahaina. Pelletier said people need to show reverence for the area. Additionally, he pointed out the area contains toxic chemicals.

Gov. Green said he would try to block out-of-state people from buying any property damaged or destroyed during the state of emergency. He’s contacted the attorney general to place a moratorium on selling damaged or destroyed properties.

A representative from Hawaii Electric said at the news conference that an investigation is underway into what happened. When pressed about why power lines were not de-energized during powerful winds, the rep said that, unlike California, the state does not have a shut-off program, which is “controversial,” not universally accepted and creates a hardship for the vulnerable and people with medical needs. The rep also noted that electricity powers the pumps that provide water to fight the fire.

When asked about reports that there was insufficient water to fight the fires, Gov. Green said the comprehensive investigation is underway. He added there has been a great deal of water conflict on Maui for many years, with limited water for houses and people.

Aug 14, 9:32 PM EDT
US Coast Guard deploys teams to deal with environmental fallout of Maui wildfires

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) announced Monday it’s launched pollution response teams and equipment to deal with the environmental impact of the Maui wildfires, as it shifts focus from search and rescue operations.

“While the Coast Guard is always postured for search and rescue operations, we are also focused on minimizing maritime environmental impacts as a result of the Maui fires,” Cmdr. Kyra Dykeman, the deputy incident commander for the Coast Guard Maui fire response, said in a news release. “We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the community we serve.”

The USCG placed a 100-foot boom “at the mouth of Lahaina Harbor to contain potential hazardous contaminants and materials,” USCG said.

Aug 14, 6:40 PM EDT
Death toll rises to 99: Governor

Gov. Josh Green said the death toll in the wildfires has risen to 99.

Green said during an interview with CNN that the number is expected to go up “very significantly,” as there are still hundreds of people unaccounted for.

“A lot of people had to run and left all they had behind. They don’t have their phones, [and] the phones are incinerated,” he said.

Green said that the first 80 victims were found on Front Street in cars and along the water.

Aug 14, 6:05 PM EDT
FEMA officials say they are holding out hope for survivors

Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency updated reporters Monday afternoon about their current efforts on the island and said the operations aren’t considered solely a recovery effort yet, despite the use of cadaver dogs.

“We know that there are people not yet accounted for, but we anticipate that there are people who have just moved to different locations either in Maui, different islands in Hawaii, or perhaps even the mainland with loved ones and family members,” Jeremy Greenberg, FEMA’s director for the Operations Division, said.

Tonya Hoover, the deputy U.S. fire administrator at the U.S. Fire Administration, told reporters that high winds complicated fire mitigation efforts. She added that many local firefighters lost their homes in the wildfires.

“As you might imagine, seeing the fires effect on their community and their own losses have taken an emotional toll on them as well,” Hoover said.

-ABC News’ Anne Flaherty

Aug 14, 3:03 PM EDT

FEMA chief says Maui resources so far are ‘right amount’

Deanne Criswell, the administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told reporters during a briefing at the White House Monday that she believes the government has enough resources and staff on the ground in Maui.

“At this point, I have no awareness of anything that we have not been able to meet, and we’ll continue to build up our presence here on the island to support this,” Criswell said when asked by ABC News’ Mary Bruce if there were any delays.

She also emphasized that FEMA is continuing to work on better understanding what’s needed and what might be needed “a week from now, two weeks from now.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean Pierre said there are currently over 300 FEMA employees, 50,000 meals, 75,000 liters of water, 5,000 cots and 10,000 blankets on the ground.

Criswell added the agency has “the right amount of personnel on the ground integrated with the local officials” to conduct search and recovery missions.

Criswell declined to give a timeline on how long that search would take.

-ABC News’ Cheyenne Haslett

Aug 10, 6:56 PM EDT
Perfect storm of weather conditions led to devastating wildfires

A perfect storm of weather conditions led to the massive inferno that has killed dozens of people in Maui and caused widespread destruction.

The fires, which sparked Tuesday night, were fueled by an unfortunate combination of a landscape parched by drought conditions and strong winds.

Read more about the conditions here.

-ABC News’ Julia Jacobo

Aug 14, 5:58 AM EDT
Latest wind forecast for Hawaii

Winds are expected to increase in Hawaii this week as another high pressure builds to the north and a tropical cyclone passes to the south. However, they won’t be as strong as they were last week.

The latest weather forecast shows gusts will exceed 30 mph across the archipelago state from Tuesday through Thursday.

The wind speeds are forecast to ease by Friday.

This comes as firefighters struggle to contain deadly wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui.

-ABC News’ Max Golembo

Aug 14, 4:26 AM EDT
Death toll rises to 96

At least 96 people have died from the wildfires on Maui, authorities said.

The Maui Police Department confirmed on Wednesday night that the number of fatalities has increased to 96, after three more bodies were recovered.

Officials on the Hawaiian island have repeatedly warned that the death toll will continue to rise as they work to contain the blazes and assess the damage.

-ABC News’ Amanda Morris

Aug 14, 2:27 AM EDT
Governor lifts disaster relief spending cap

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green issued an emergency proclamation late Sunday, lifting a cap on disaster relief spending and putting in place additional assistance measures.

The proclamation, which is the fifth he’s issued since the fires started, will suspend “additional laws to facilitate emergency response, recovery, and rebuilding,” Green’s office said in a statement.

A $10 million cap on spending from a Major Disaster Fund has been lifted, his office said. And nonessential travel to West Maui is discouraged.

Under the proclamation, pharmacists will be allowed to refill prescriptions with supplies for up to 30 days for those affected the fires, even without refill authorization.

-ABC News’ Marilyn Heck

Aug 14, 1:34 AM EDT
Biden briefed on Maui by FEMA administrator

President Joe Biden received two updates Sunday from FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell on the situation in Maui, according to the White House. The two spoke in the morning and evening, White House officials said.

-ABC News’ Fritz Farrow

Aug 13, 4:50 AM EDT
Death toll climbs to 93, officials say

The death toll from the fires in Maui has increased to at least 93 people, county officials said late Saturday.

-ABC News’ Victoria Arancio

Aug 13, 3:20 AM EDT
2 bodies identified with 3% of destroyed area searched

Two of the 89 bodies recovered from the burned-out area near Lahaina have been identified using DNA, Maui Police Chief John Pelletier said.

Search crews were using dogs on Saturday to look for remains in the wreckage, he said at an evening press conference in Kahului.

Only 3% of the destroyed area had so far been covered, he said. Twelve additional dogs were on the way to aid in the search.

He described the blaze as “a fire that melted metal,” saying it had been severe enough that each recovered body will have to be identified using DNA.

“Every one of these 89 are John and Jane Does,” he said.

He asked locals to get DNA tests at a nearby facility as a way to speed up the identification process.

“We need to identify your loved ones,” the chief said.

Aug 12, 10:55 PM EDT
Death toll rises to 89, public told to ‘brace’ for more: Governor

At least 89 people have died in the Maui fires, Gov. Josh Green said on Saturday during a live press conference.

“It’s going to continue to rise. We want to brace people for that,” Green continued.

With Maui’s wildfire death toll surpassing California’s 2018 Camp Fire, it’s now the deadliest U.S. wildfire in modern history.

Aug 12, 10:13 AM EDT
2,207 structures damaged or destroyed in Lahaina fire, with 2,170 acres burned: Officials

According to the Pacific Disaster Center, an estimated total of 2,719 structures were exposed to the Lahaina fire; 2,207 structures were damaged or destroyed; and 2,170 acres burned.

Of the buildings exposed to the fire, 86% were classified as residential.

-ABC News’ Flor Tolentino

Aug 12, 3:51 AM EDT
Death toll climbs to 80 in Maui wildfires

At least 80 people have died in Maui as wildfires continue to flare up, officials said in an update.

Firefighters were working to contain three blazes in Lahaina, Upcountry Maui and near Pulehu and Kihei, official said at about 9 p.m. local time. A fire reported near Kaanapali was 100% contained.

Restrictions on vehicle traffic were in place throughout West Maui, but the road leading out of Lahaina was open, county officials said.

“The burned historic Lahaina town area remains barricaded, with people warned to stay out of the area due to hazards including toxic particles from smoldering areas,” the update said said. “Wearing a mask and gloves is advised.”

About 1,400 people were at emergency evacuation shelters, county officials said.

Aug 12, 3:48 AM EDT
Fire near Kaanapali 80% controlled, evacuations stopped

A fire near Maui’s Kaanapali area is now 80% controlled and evacuations have been stopped, the Maui Police Department said in an update.

-ABC News Flor Tolentino

Aug 12, 2:44 AM EDT
Evacuation underway in Kaanapali

Residents and tourists in Kaanapali were being evacuated Friday evening as fires continued in West Maui, law enforcement officials said.

“As of this posting, there is a fire in West Maui, residents in the Kaanapali are currently being evacuated,” the Maui Police Department said in a statement posted to social media.

Kaanapali, another area popular with tourists, is on the coast a few miles north of Lahaina.

-ABC News’ Amanda Morris

Aug 11, 11:40 PM EDT
Many cultural landmarks cherished by the people of the island have been damaged

One region particularly ravaged by the wildfires is the historic town of Lahaina, which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1962.

It was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845 before Honolulu became the capital and before the kingdom was overthrown and Hawaii was annexed by the United States, according to the Hawai’i Tourism Authority.

This includes the historic Waiola Church, the first Christian church on Maui established in 1823, which can be seen in photos engulfed in the blaze.

Buried here are several Hawaiian monarchs, including “Queen Keopuolani, the highest royalty by virtue of bloodlines in all Hawaii,” the last king of Kauai King Kaumuali’i, High Chief Ulumaheihei Hoapili and more.

A more than 60-foot-tall, 150-year-old Indian banyan tree that become a beloved landmark in the city of Lahaina was also damaged in the blaze, pictures show.

The historic tree covers one-quarter of a mile and shades nearly two-thirds of an acre of land.

Other historic homes, museums, and cultural centers were caught in the blaze. Learn more here.

-ABC News’ Kiara Alfonseca

Aug 11, 7:28 PM EDT
Death toll now 67, marking deadliest natural disaster since Hawaii’s statehood

The death toll due to the Maui fires has increased to 67, officials said.

Twelve additional fatalities have been confirmed as of 1 p.m. local time Friday, officials said, bringing the death toll to 67.

That officially makes this the largest death toll from a natural disaster since Hawaii’s statehood.

Previously, the deadliest natural disaster in the state occurred in 1960, when a tsunami killed 61 people.

The Lahaina fire is not yet contained, officials said.

Aug 11, 6:46 PM EDT
Maui fires declared a public health emergency

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has declared a public health emergency for Hawaii due to the wildfires.

The declaration “gives the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) health care providers and suppliers greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries,” the agency said.

“We will do all we can to assist Hawaii officials with responding to the health impacts of the wildfires,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “We are working closely with state and local health authorities, as well as our partners across the federal government, and stand ready to provide additional public health and medical support.”

Aug 11, 6:45 PM EDT
Doctor in Maui describes treating patients injured by the fires

Dr. Art Chasen, trauma medical director at Maui Memorial Medical Center, described to ABC News what it’s been like treating patients who have been injured by the devastating wildfires.

He said Tuesday night was the first night he experienced a mass casualty event in the 12 years since he has worked at the hospital. Staff saw about 40 patients throughout the night, eight with life-threatening severe burns and the rest with minor burns, smoke inhalation injuries and other fire-related injuries.

Chasen described one patient, a fireman, who got seriously injured while trying to save people from a burning structure.

“He just kept going back until he ran out of oxygen,” Chasen said. “He ended up somehow taking off his mask and collapsing in the fire. His fellow firefighters went in and rescued him. He had severe burns on his legs at the scene.”

“He coded, his heart hard stopped and so he received CPR for three to five minutes…and they brought him back and he was in our ICU overnight.”

The fireman was transferred to Queen’s Medical Center in Oahu. In total, nine patients were transferred to Queen’s and Straub Medical Center, also in Oahu.

Maui Memorial has seen about 60 patients total as of Friday morning, and Chasen expects a second wave of injured patients now that roads are reopening, but insisted that the hospital is not overwhelmed or struggling to accommodate patients.

“We were not overwhelmed. We’ve never turned anybody away,” he said. “We have beds available. We have ICU space available. We’ve been seeing regular trauma patients throughout the time, like motorcycle accidents and things like that. So our hospital surged to meet the demand.”

-ABC News’ Mary Kekatos

Aug 11, 5:43 PM EDT
How the wildfires are affecting people’s physical and mental health

Impacts from the deadly Maui wildfires go beyond evacuations and damaged buildings. Experts say the fires are also affecting residents’ and tourists’ physical health and could have impacts on their mental health.

Wildfire smoke is a mixture of gases, pollutants and particles that people can inhale, penetrating the lungs and even entering the bloodstream.

Research has also shown wildfires and the subsequent smoke can lead to increased rates of anxiety and depression and become worse among people who already have these conditions.

Read more about the possible health impacts here.

-ABC News’ Mary Kekatos

Aug 11, 5:28 PM EDT
Jeff Bezos and fiancée pledge $100 million to Maui

Jeff Bezos and his fiancée, Lauren Sanchez, have pledged $100 million to Maui, Sanchez announced on Instagram.

“Jeff and I are heartbroken by what’s happening in Maui,” Sanchez said in the post, which Bezos also shared on his Instagram account. “We are thinking of all the families that have lost so much and a community that has been left devastated.”

She said they are creating a Maui Fund and dedicating $100 million “to help Maui get back on its feet now and over the coming years as the continuing needs reveal themselves.”

Aug 11, 3:53 PM EDT
People will be allowed in homes Friday, officials say

West Maui residents will be allowed into their homes Friday, officials said.

Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen announced during a radio update that they will be reopening parts of West Maui with proof of residency, and for visitors with proof of hotel reservation. Access to Lahaina will begin at noon local time, officials said.

There will be a daily curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., he said. During those hours there will be no unauthorized public access to Lahaina to protect residences and property, officials said.

“They will see destruction like they’ve not ever seen in their lives,” Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said in an interview on local station KHON Friday.

“Do not go into any structure remotely effected by fires, we do not want to see any other casualties,” he added.

-ABC News’ Jennifer Watts and Alyssa Pone

Aug 11, 10:18 AM EDT
14,900 visitors left Maui on flights Thursday

As the wildfires continue to rage, 14,900 visitors left Maui on flights Thursday, according to Maui County.

Visitors wanting to leave Maui have been asked to book flights off the island. They can book flights to Honolulu, then continue on another flight to the Mainland.

Aug 11, 7:38 AM EDT
Lahaina looks like ‘a war zone,’ Maui County mayor says

Devastating wildfires on Maui have left its historic town of Lahaina looking like “a war zone,” according to Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen.

He recently toured the damage with other local and state officials for the first time.

“The closest thing I can compare it to is perhaps a war zone or maybe a bomb went off,” Bissen told ABC News’ Eva Pilgrim in an interview Friday on Good Morning America.

“It was cars in the street, doors open, you know, melted to the ground,” he added. “Most structures no longer exist and for blocks and blocks of this.”

The mayor, who grew up on Maui, said he’s familiar with Lahaina. His mother worked at one of the local restaurants for 17 years.

“It doesn’t resemble anything that it looked like when I was growing up,” he said.

As the death toll from the wildfires continues to climb, authorities are bringing in cadaver dogs to search for more victims, according to the mayor.

“So we will be increasing our area that we can search,” Bissen said.

Nevertheless, the mayor remained hopeful that Maui “will rebuild.” President Joe Biden has signed an emergency declaration for the Hawaiian island, allowing access to federal assets and funds, which Bissen said they “intend” to use. There’s also been “an outpouring of so much donations and offers of help,” according to the mayor.

“There is so much support,” he said. “Right now, our focus is on fighting the fires, saving lives where we can or preventing further harm, of course property as well. We’ll get to the investigative stage when that’s appropriate.”

While Lahaina and the west side of Maui has been shut down amid the active wildfires, Bissen noted that the rest of the island remains open.

Aug 11, 3:54 AM EDT
Death toll climbs to 55 on Maui

At least 55 people have died as wildfires tear through the Hawaiian island of Maui, officials said.

Two more fatalities were confirmed on Thursday night amid the active Lahaina fire, bringing the death toll to 55, according to a press release from Maui County.

A total of 19 deaths were confirmed on Thursday and 36 were confirmed on Wednesday, according to Maui County.

Officials have repeatedly said that they expect the death toll to rise.

Aug 10, 10:51 PM EDT
Maui wildfires ‘likely the largest natural disaster in state’s history’: Governor

The wildfires that have devastated Maui are “likely the largest natural disaster in Hawaii’s state history,” Gov. Josh Green said during a press briefing Thursday evening.

Green went on to call the wildfires “catastrophic” and said the state is seeking 2,000 hotel rooms to help the displaced people of Maui.

The governor said “we will continue” seeing loss of life. At least 53 people have died from the wildfires, officials said earlier in the day.

Green also called on residents to help, saying: “If you have additional space in your home, if you have the capacity to take someone in from West Maui, please do.”

After surveying the damage earlier in the day, Green estimated it will take billions of dollars and many years to rebuild Lahaina, and he estimates well over 1,000 buildings were destroyed.

Officials still don’t know exactly how many people are missing, according to Maui County Police Chief John Pelletier.

Aug 10, 9:38 PM EDT
A community struggling to cope

As a funeral director at the Nakamura Mortuary in Wailuku, Carol Chaney is no stranger to dealing with death — but usually, it’s other people’s losses. Now, loss has hit home in an unimaginably painful way. She says she’s still in shock and can’t reach family members in Lahaina.

“We’re still trying to gather ourselves. It’s still very fresh. There’s still a lot to be done,” she told ABC News over the phone.

Since the Maui wildfires, the calls she says she’s received aren’t to make funeral arrangements for those lost — it’s people calling to see if she has information on their missing loved ones. She doesn’t.

“We really have no answers for them which makes it even harder,” Chaney said. “It is getting a little overwhelming, but I know there’s more that’s coming.”

“I don’t know how to explain it, we want to do so much, but you can’t because you’re stuck. This has never happened,” she said.

Even as the death toll continues to rise, Chaney said she’s still coming to terms with what has happened.

“I’m kind of just trying to — I’m in shock. I just don’t want to believe that this happened,” she said. “And today it’s raining. Where was the rain yesterday? Where was it the day before?”

-ABC News’ Sasha Pezenik

Aug 10, 7:45 PM EDT
Coast Guard says it’s rescued 57 people in Maui

The U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday it has rescued 57 people amid its response to the Lahaina wildfires in Maui.

Seventeen people were saved from the water, while another 40 were found ashore by Coast Guard Station Maui boat crews, it said.

“The Coast Guard has no reports of missing persons in the water, however Coast Guard aircrews and surface assets continue search and rescue operations,” the agency said.

Aug 10, 7:30 PM EDT
Death toll increases to 53

The death toll from the Maui fires has increased to 53, officials said Thursday.

“As firefighting efforts continue, 17 additional fatalities have been confirmed today amid the active Lahaina fire” as of 1:10 p.m. local time, Maui County said. “This brings the death toll to 53 people.”

No other details were available.

Aug 10, 6:56 PM EDT
Perfect storm of weather conditions led to devastating wildfires

A perfect storm of weather conditions led to the massive inferno that has killed dozens of people in Maui and caused widespread destruction.

The fires, which sparked Tuesday night, were fueled by an unfortunate combination of a landscape parched by drought conditions and strong winds.

Read more about the conditions here.

-ABC News’ Julia Jacobo

Aug 10, 6:46 PM EDT
Husband, wife reunite after losing Lahaina home in fire

While fleeing their burning home in Lahaina overnight Tuesday, Steven Scott got separated from his wife, Patricia, and had been unable to get ahold of her — until now.

After more than 30 hours without a phone, Scott told ABC News he was able to borrow someone’s phone with just 6% battery life left and his wife answered. She had made her way to Walmart and found a way to charge her phone.

Scott quickly told his wife to meet him at the McDonald’s before the phone ran out of battery, telling her he would wait “as long as it takes.” They were soon reunited at the restaurant.

That wasn’t the only reunion for the family on Thursday; Scott said he was also able to locate his son and daughter-in-law, who had fled the flames with only their pets and a few dollars. The whole family lost their homes and business in the fire.

Scott previously recounted to ABC News his harrowing escape. He said he tried to fight the fire with a hose before managing to flee.

“I was trapped,” the 70-year-old said. “We had to run to the harbor.”

-ABC News’ Bonnie McLean

Aug 10, 6:19 PM EDT
Lahaina residents wait to return to check on homes

At the road block to Lahaina, dozens of residents who have slept in their cars are parked along the street waiting for the opportunity to check on their homes and neighbors. Right now, officials are only allowing emergency response crews to pass the blockade.

Lahaina resident Al Crisostomo told ABC News through tears about his escape from the flames days ago.

“It was a huge black smoke and it’s indescribable, it’s like apocalyptic,” he said.

Crisostomo said he fears his home is gone, among the hundreds decimated.

Since the early morning, dozens of emergency resources have passed through the blockade. Multiple Hawaiian Electric trucks are en route to restore power, and several truck loads of food have also gone through.

-ABC News’ Melissa Adan

Aug 10, 5:38 PM EDT
Wildfire in Lahaina 80% contained, officials say

The wildfire that has caused significant damage in Lahaina is reported to be 80% contained, Maui County officials said.

Among the other two active fires in Maui, the Pulehu fire, in an area of Kīhei, is reported to be 70% contained, officials said.

There is no update at this time on the Upcountry fire, in the areas of Olinda and Upper Kula, officials said.

Amid the disaster, Lahaina remains without power.

Some 1,400 people stayed at Kahului Airport overnight Wednesday while waiting to evacuate, the county said.

Aug 10, 5:17 PM EDT
Some tourists just learning extent of the fires

Three buses with 168 tourists just arrived at the packed Kahului Airport in Maui. Passengers told ABC News that they have not had power or cell service for two days. Some said they had no idea how bad these fires were until half an hour ago when they first got cell phone service back and were able to see the extent of the devastation.

Some don’t have plane reservations, while others have tickets for the weekend. They said the resorts told them they had to leave and to get on the buses, so they did without much of a plan and little information.

-ABC News’ Will Carr and Timmy Truong

Aug 10, 4:55 PM EDT
Lahaina resident ‘scared’ to learn death toll

Lahaina resident Leif Wright held back tears as he told ABC News Live he is “scared” to learn the death toll of the fire.

“I don’t even know what the body count is going to be. I’m very scared to hear, but I’m really nervous. A lot of friends are missing,” Wright said.

Wright evacuated after trying to help save neighbors and pets in his neighborhood. He lost his home in the fire.

He urged anyone who wants to help to donate to food drives or help give clothing to residents who lost everything.

 

Leif Wright, a resident of Lahiana, joins @kyraphillips with an emotional account of the wildfires that burned down his home.

“The entire neighborhood was covered in smoke…a lot of people are still missing.” pic.twitter.com/TWWCenLVLu

— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) August 10, 2023

-ABC News’ Michelle Stoddart

Aug 10, 4:21 PM EDT
‘So many people are missing’

In an interview with ABC News Live, Malika Dudley, meteorologist for ABC Honolulu affiliate KITV, said residents are “feeling so, so sorrowful” as more damage is being surveyed and the death toll continues to rise.

“So many people are missing,” Dudley said during the emotional interview. “We’re seeing a lot of things coming up on Instagram, my grandma, my grandpa, my son. I just saw one and a 12-year-old that’s missing. There’s no words. There’s no words.”

Dudley said that Maui residents will need “a lot of support to get out of this.”

“Those are people’s homes, people’s businesses, people’s livelihood,” Dudley said. “And this is on top of the you know, what is most poignant to us right now, which is just the loss of life and trying to reunite families right now.”

-ABC News’ Michelle Stoddart

Aug 10, 3:43 PM EDT
Survivor jumped into water to escape flames: ‘It seemed like I might drown’

Shawn Dougherty is recovering from burn injuries at a shelter set up at the War Memorial Gym in Maui after jumping into water to escape from the flames.

Dougherty told ABC News the “first sign of peril” on Tuesday was when a tree in his backyard snapped from strong wind gusts. When a house in his Lahaina neighborhood started to fill with smoke, he and his girlfriend drove toward the harbor, where businesses were on fire.

He and his girlfriend ended up leaving their car and jumping in the water to escape the flames. Dougherty said he got cuts and bruises from getting knocked against the rocks and coral.

“At one point, it seemed like I might drown,” he said. “I’m a good swimmer, but the water was just really rough because of the wind and the turbulence.”

They had to temporarily swim away from the rock wall because of the intense heat from the fires, he said. A first responder eventually told them to get out of the water because “it’s not going to get any better,” so he and his girlfriend took the chance and climbed out.

“I couldn’t even make it across the street because the pavement was so hot. And now I have second degree burns on the bottom of my feet,” Dougherty said.

Dougherty said he had difficulties walking due to his burns and lost track of his girlfriend after getting out of the water. He ended up waiting in the water and on the rock wall until firefighters carried him to a truck and ultimately brought him to a hospital for treatment.

He’s been at the shelter since Wednesday morning and hasn’t been able to get ahold of his girlfriend since.

“I’ve got to find a way to procure a phone so I can start making contacts with people and find my beautiful girlfriend,” he said. “I’m so scared.”

-ABC News’ Izzy Alvarez

Aug 10, 1:12 PM EDT
Biden approves Hawaii emergency disaster declaration

President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration in Hawaii and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by wildfires.

The declaration unlocked grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property loses and other programs to help residents and business owners recover from the wildfires. It also unlocks federal funding for state and eligible local governments for debris removal and emergency protective measures in Maui and assistance for emergency protective measures for Hawaii County.

Biden also spoke with Hawaii Gov. Josh Green about the wildfires to express his condolences for the lives lost and the vast destruction of land and property.

“President Biden confirmed he signed a Major Disaster Declaration for Hawaii that will deliver additional federal resources and support on top of the actions already underway by FEMA, the National Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard, and other federal agencies to support the emergency response,” the White House said in a statement.

-ABC News’ Molly Nagle

Aug 10, 12:31 PM EDT
United cancels inbound flights to Kahului Airport, as airlines add extra flights from Maui

In the aftermath of the Hawaii wildfires, airlines flying to Maui have added extra flights to take people off the island. United Airlines canceled Thursday’s inbound flights to Kahului Airport so planes can fly empty and be used as passenger flights back to the mainland.

Other airlines told ABC News they are continuing their scheduled operations and have issued waivers or flexible travel policies.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it is monitoring the fires and winds, but operations remain normal. According to FlightAware, 14 flights at Kahului Airport have been canceled and 18 are delayed.

-ABC News’ Clara McMichael

Aug 10, 11:21 AM EDT
Chaos at Maui’s main airport as hundreds try to leave

Hundreds of people spent the night at the Kahului Airport on Maui, after local authorities asked everyone who does not need to be on the island to leave amid raging wildfires.

Many raced to the airport on Wednesday only to find out that their flights had been canceled or delayed. So, they slept there on the ground, on baggage carts and on X-ray machines — whatever they could find that was relatively comfortable.

Some people told ABC News that they are hoping to fly out on Thursday. Others said they were informed by airlines that they won’t be able to get on flights until the weekend.

One mother told ABC News that she has rented a car that she will sleep in with her two young children for the next two days. But that, she said with a tear in her eye, is nothing compared to losing your house or the life of a loved one.

Aug 10, 10:46 AM EDT
Hawaii governor to tour wildfire damage on Maui

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green is scheduled to arrive in Maui early Thursday.

Green is expected to hold a joint press conference with Maui Mayor Richard Bissen after touring the wildfire damage.

Aug 10, 8:01 AM EDT
3 wildfires remain active, uncontained on Maui

There are three active wildfires burning on Maui as of Thursday morning, according to Maui County spokesperson Mahina Martin.

Martin told ABC News that those fires are still not contained, though improved weather conditions have helped the situation.

There was no update for the number of acres that the blazes have burned. The Kula fire was a little over 1,000 acres as of early Wednesday.

-ABC News’ Alyssa Pone

Aug 10, 6:41 AM EDT
Latest wind forecast for Hawaii

The National Weather Service has canceled all high wind and red flag warning alerts for Hawaii as wind speeds are expected to decrease slightly on Thursday.

But wind gusts are still forecast to get up to 25 to 35 miles per hour, which will not help the fight to contain raging wildfires on Maui.

Over the last few days, winds have gusted to as high as 82 mph in parts of Hawaii. In Maui County, wind speeds got up to 67 mph.

This is due to very strong trade winds and the increased pressure gradient between the high pressure to the north of Hawaii and Hurricane Dora to the south.

Dora never hit Hawaii, only coming as close as 700 miles to the south. So the winds are not due to Dora but rather the pressure gradient effect.

-ABC News’ Max Golembo

Aug 10, 4:35 AM EDT
Death toll rises to 36 on Maui

At least 36 people have died as wildfires tear through the Hawaiian island of Maui, according to officials.

During a press conference early Thursday, Maui Mayor Richard Bissen confirmed that the death toll is “growing.”

“We knew of six earlier. We are probably around 36 as of now,” Bissen said.

Maui County also confirmed in a statement late Wednesday that “36 total fatalities have been discovered today”

-ABC News’ Alyssa Pone

Aug 09, 11:15 PM EDT
More than 271 structures impacted

Authorities say more than 271 structures have been impacted, as fires continue to burn into early evening local time.

A federal team has arrived on the island to assist in search and rescue efforts in Lahaina, Maui County said Wednesday.

Close to 100 Maui firefighters have been on duty around the clock, including 11 from the state airport, the county said. The Maui Fire Department has reached out for additional support, requesting 20 more firefighters from Honolulu, Oahu and an incident management team.

Firefighters are addressing spot fires in Lahaina. Two Chinooks, along with four Windward Aviation helicopters, have been battling all three fires with water drops. Three additional helicopters from the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy have conducted search and rescue along the West Maui coastline, the county said.

The Maui FD reported no significant changes for the Lahaina, Upcountry and Pūlehu fires as of the afternoon local time.

There are no new evacuations, however, motorists are prohibited from entering Lahaina while the fire is active, with police on hand to prevent entry into the area. Residents who are still in Lahaina have been advised they can evacuate via Kahakuloa.

Aug 09, 9:37 PM EDT
FEMA approves disaster relief as wildfires rage, thousands without power

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved Hawaii’s request for a disaster declaration for help with a wildfire on Kohala Ranch on the Big Island of Hawaii, according to Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency.

Around 200 homes in and near Kohala Ranch have been impacted by the fires that began on Tuesday, the state’s emergency management agency said in a press release.

“The fire was also threatening a volunteer fire department, local electrical transmission lines and an AT&T cellular communications tower in the area,” Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency said.

There are 12,400 customers without power, according to Hawaiian Electric. The company is working to get some power restored.

Aug 09, 7:30 PM EDT
Helicopter pilot on Maui devastation

When helicopter pilot Richard Olsten flew above Lahaina, Maui, on Wednesday, he said he was not prepared for what he saw.

“It was heartbreaking,” Olsten told ABC News Live. “There’s hundreds of homes burned down to the ground. The entire area of Front Street, the whole historic area, is gone, burned to the ground.”

“We were just speechless with one another as we viewed this horrible destruction of the town,” Olsten said.

Aug 09, 7:27 PM EDT
Latest from airlines

So far on Wednesday, there have been 17 cancellations and 46 delays at Kahului Airport (OGG) in Maui, according to FlightAware.

Delta Air Lines said it anticipates operating a full schedule out of Maui on Wednesday, adding two more flights to help accommodate customers from flights canceled the day before.

American Airlines said it canceled all flights to Kahului Airport on Wednesday but expects to operate the majority of flights out of the airport “to ensure customers evacuating OGG are able to do so.”

The Federal Aviation Administration said earlier it’s monitoring the wildfire and winds in Hawaii, but operations remain normal. A spokesperson said that, if necessary, the agency will take steps to manage the flow of traffic safely into areas that experience reduced visibility from wildfire smoke.

-ABC News’ Amanda Maile

Aug 09, 6:47 PM EDT
‘I was trapped’: Maui fire survivors speak out

A Maui resident recounted escaping from his burning home in an interview with ABC News’ Gio Benitez on Wednesday.

“We started smelling the smoke, and that’s when we knew we had trouble,” Steve Scott said. “It came, and it came quick.”

Scott said he tried to fight the fire with a hose before managing to flee.

“I was trapped,” he said. “We had to run to the harbor.”

Scott said the loss is “horrible,” especially along Front Street in downtown Lahaina, just as the tourist-driven area started to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I don’t know if we can recover from this,” he said.

Aug 09, 6:43 PM EDT
Biden on wildfire response

President Joe Biden and the first lady said they are sending condolences to the families of those who lost loved ones in the Maui wildfires.

In a statement Wednesday evening, Biden said he has ordered “all available Federal assets on the Islands to help with response” and is urging “all residents to continue to follow evacuation orders, listen to the instructions of first responders and officials, and stay alert.”

-ABC News’ Justin Gomez

Aug 09, 4:43 PM EDT
‘Our beautiful island has been ravaged by fires’

Maui Chamber of Commerce President Pamela Tumpap detailed the level of devastation in a phone interview with ABC News Live.

“Our beautiful island has been ravaged by fires from the mountain to the ocean,” Tumpap said.

Tumpap said some areas look like they have been “completely leveled.”

“We’ve lost a lot of homes and we’ve lost a lot of business places and we’ve lost cultural and historic resources that were in the Chinatown that have burned to the ground,” Tumpap said. “We are seeing fires unlike what we’ve ever seen before.”

Tumpap cautioned travelers against coming to the island, saying it is “not going to be the Maui vacation that you planned” and visitors will have a hard time finding resources.

Aug 09, 4:20 PM EDT
At least 6 deaths reported in Maui, mayor says

There have been at least six deaths reported in Maui County amid devastating wildfires, officials said.

“We’re still in a search and rescue mode, and so I don’t know what will happen to that number,” Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen said during a press briefing Wednesday afternoon.

More than 2,100 people are in shelters in Maui County, he said.

Shelters are “overrun” amid the disaster, Hawaii Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke said while urging tourists not to travel there.

“This is not a safe place to be,” she said.

Aug 09, 4:01 PM EDT
Mother evacuates in middle of the night with 2 children

Maui resident Malika Dudley described to ABC News Live her experience evacuating from the raging wildfires in Hawaii with her two children in the middle of the night.

Currently in Haliimaile, which is on the slopes of Haleakalā, Dudley can still see the fire from the mountain growing and spreading.

“We were in the very first evacuation at 1 a.m.. I started to smell smoke in my home, and I woke my husband up and he said, ‘Oh, don’t worry about it.’ At 1:30, I thought, ‘No, something’s on fire in our house."”

Eventually, Dudley, who is also a meteorologist for ABC affiliate KITV, got a call from their neighbor and the fire was right above their property.

“We got a call from our neighbor who said, ‘Get out of your house.’ And we looked out the window and there was a red glow outside of our window,” she said. “The fire was right above our property.”

Aug 09, 3:50 PM EDT
Hawaii governor: ‘Some loss of life is expected’

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green warned “some loss of life is expected” amid the wildfires.

“Heroic efforts by first responders have prevented many casualties from occurring, but some loss of life is expected,” Green said in a statement Wednesday. “Our entire emergency response team, including the Hawai‘i National Guard has mobilized and is being supported by FEMA.”

Green will be returning to the islands immediately due to the wildfire emergency, his office announced.

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