Maui Fire Death Toll ‘Very Likely’ Will ‘Significantly Exceed’ 60+ People, 1,700+ Buildings Destroyed, Governor Says
An aerial image taken on August 10, 2023 shows destroyed homes and buildings burned to the ground in Lahaina in the aftermath of wildfires in western Maui, Hawaii. At least 36 people have died after a fast-moving wildfire turned Lahaina to ashes, officials said August 9, 2023 as visitors asked to leave the island of Maui found themselves stranded at the airport. The fires began burning early August 8, scorching thousands of acres and putting homes, businesses and 35,000 lives at risk on Maui, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said in a statement.
PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

The governor of Hawaii said on Thursday that the death toll from the fire that burned a historic Maui town to the ground is likely well north of 60 fatalities.

Governor Josh Green (D) told CNN that the more than 1,700 buildings were destroyed in the fire, totaling billions of dollars in damages.

“In 1960, we had 61 fatalities when a large wave came through the Big Island,” Green added. “This time, it’s very likely that our death totals will significantly exceed that.”

Maui County said in an update late Thursday afternoon that an additional 17 fatalities have been discovered since its last update, bringing the total number of deaths to 53 people.

The blazes erupted on Tuesday and continued to wreak havoc on the community in the western part of the island while flames raged in other areas.


The U.S. Coast Guard used a 45-foot boat to rescue at least 14 people who were forced to run into the Pacific Ocean to escape the fires and thick plumes of smoke.

The U.S. Military has also been deployed to respond to the emergency, sending helicopters and other equipment to assist with rescue and firefighting operations.

“The U.S. Army 25th Combat Aviation Brigade deployed two UH-60 Blackhawks and one CH-47 Chinook to Hawaii Island to conduct firefighting operations,” said the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. “Additionally, U.S. Navy Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37 sent MH-60R Seahawk helicopters to assist the U.S. Coast Guard in search and rescue operations.”

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