As Search for Maui Victims Continues, Governor warns of Significant Rise in Loss of Life

  • It has been two weeks since Maui was ravaged by deadly wildfires.
  • 115 are confirmed dead
  • Over 1,000 remain missing
  • Family members are being asked to provide DNA samples to help with ID
  • 1,800 Maui County residents still without power

According to the New York Times, “The burn zone is large, and the search for remains has been slow and painstaking. About 85 percent of the burn area had been searched as of Friday evening. Emergency responders, with help from anthropologists and cadaver dogs, must sift through a wasteland of ash and debris to find human remains. Then comes the work of identifying the bodies using fingerprints or DNA, and finding the victims’ families to deliver the news. The process is likely to continue for weeks and perhaps months.”

It could take months for officials to identify what caused the fire in Maui last week. But some plaintiffs’ lawyers and investors have already begun to blame Hawaiian Electric, the state’s largest utility. . . . In addition to decisions by the utility, officials will also focus on invasive grasses on the slopes above Lahaina. Introduced to Hawaii to feed livestock, the grasses have taken over old sugar and pineapple plantations. The grasses tend to grow quickly when it rains but become fuel for fires in the dry season.