Breitbart: The death toll in the wildfires ravaging Hawaii climbed to 36 late Wednesday evening, Maui County officials said.
The identities of those killed were not included in the brief statement which confirmed “firefighting efforts continue.”
As Breitbart News reported, earlier in the day the toll stood at six in a wildfire that has razed the resort town of Lahaina on the island of Maui, as desperate residents jumped into the ocean in a bid to escape the fast-moving flames.
Other residents and visitors raced to escape via available air routes.
— Justin Hart (@justin_hart) August 10, 2023
U.S. Coast Guard officers plucked at least a dozen people from the water as emergency services were overwhelmed by a disaster that appeared to have erupted almost without warning and has burnt entire neighbourhoods to the ground.
The wildfires, driven by strong winds from Hurricane Dora passing far to the south, took the island of Maui by surprise, leaving behind burned-out cars on once busy streets and smoking piles of rubble where historic century-old buildings had once stood.
AP reports officials said earlier that 271 structures were damaged or destroyed and dozens of people injured with a huge search and rescue operation under way as some people still unaccounted for.
“We barely made it out in time,” Kamuela Kawaakoa, who fled to an evacuation shelter on Tuesday with his partner and six-year-old son, told AP.
This is NOT normal. pic.twitter.com/jem0ZM0r1J
— Stew Peters (@realstewpeters) August 10, 2023
“It was so hard to sit there and just watch my town burn to ashes and not be able to do anything,” he said. “I was helpless.”
Five evacuation shelters have been opened on Maui and officials earlier said they were “overrun” with people. The island is a popular tourist destination and visitors have been urged to stay away.
“This is not a safe place to be,” Hawaii Lt. Governor Sylvia Luke told reporters. “We have resources that are being taxed.”
Firefighters are still battling active fires, with helicopters dropping water on the blazes from above.
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