Death toll from Hawaii wildfires hits 93

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The death toll from wildfires burning in Maui in the U.S. state of Hawaii jumped to 93, according to the Maui County's website, reported Xinhua.

The latest death toll has made the wildfire the deadliest one in more than a century in modern U.S. history.

Deadly wildfires have nearly completely destroyed the historic town of Lahaina, a popular tourist spot and once the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Reports said that thousands of people had been displaced, more than 2,200 structures had been destroyed.

Despite the bad weather, questions have been raised about Hawaii's siren system, which did not sound as the devastating wildfires started.

Many people told the media that they received no official warnings about the blazes.

Hawaii Emergency Services Administration said on Friday that the warning sirens were not activated "on Maui during the wildfire incident," but alerts were sent by mobile devices, radio and television, and the opt-in resident alert system.

Maui Fire Department Chief Brad Ventura said the fire moved so quickly from brush to neighborhoods that it was impossible to get messages to the emergency management agency.

But Elizabeth Pickett, co-executive director of the Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization, told the Honolulu Civil Beat that the tragedy was foreseeable.

She said a report that she co-authored nearly a decade ago identified an increased wildfire risk to Maui, with Lahaina in an extreme risk area.

"Much more could have been done" to prevent or mitigate the disaster, she said.

  •  Hawaii
  •  Wildfire


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