Washington, Aug 12 (EFE).- At least 89 people have been killed by the devastating Maui wildfires, according to Hawaii’s governor on Saturday, making them the deadliest in the United States in more than 100 years.
A handout photo from the Hawaii Department of Department of Land and Natural Resources shows an aerial view of the wildfire aftermath in Lahaina on Maui, Hawaii, on 11 August 2023 (issued 12 August 2023). EFE/EPA/HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
“There are 89 fatalities that have been measured,” Gov. Josh Green said in a livestreamed press conference. “It’s going to continue to rise. We want to brace people for that.”
The wildfires have become the deadliest in the United States since the 1918 Cloquet and Moose Lake fires in Minnesota and Wisconsin that claimed 453 lives, according to data from the National Fire Protection Association.
Thousands of homes and acres of land have been burned, new figures from the Pacific Disaster Center and the Federal Emergency Management Agency showed Friday.
“Damage assessments related to the Lahaina Fire resulted in an estimated total of 2,719 structures exposed; 2,207 structures damaged or destroyed; and 2,170 acres burned. 86 percent of buildings exposed to the fire were classified as residential,” Maui County said in reporting the data.
Hawaii governor Josh Green (L) reacts as Maui Mayor Richard T. Bissen Jr. (R) delivers a speech during a press conference at Maui County Building, in Kahului, Hawaii, USA, 12 August 2023. EFE/EPA/ETIENNE LAURENT
The Hawaii Department of Transportation earlier announced the closure of a runway at the main airport on the island to enable the receiving of aid and help in the fight against the fires, which have also displaced more than 1,400 people.
“HDOT will be shutting down Kahului Airport Runway 523 to accommodate cargo operations, assisting in airlifting goods/necessities to Maui,” it wrote on X.
Firefighters were still working to extinguish flare-ups and contain fires in Lahaina, Pulehu/Kihei and Upcountry Maui, the county said. EFE