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Maui wildfires update: Number of dead stands at 99; search efforts continue

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During a media tour Aug. 12 of downtown Lāhainā, devastation was everywhere. (Photo by Tiffany DeMasters/Big Island Now)

Update at 11:20 a.m. Tuesday: The number of confirmed fatalities remains at 99 as of the latest Maui County wildfire update at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Four of the victims have been officially identified. The names will be released after their families are notified.

Thirteen DNA profiles have been obtained from fatalities and 41 DNA samples have been obtained from family members of missing people. To provide DNA samples, family members can go to the Family Assistance Center, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Kahului Community Center located at 275 Uhu St. in Kahului.

About 32% of the area has been searched.

The Upcountry/Kula Fire is now 60% contained and has burned an estimated 678 acres. Hot spots in gulches, forests and other hard to reach places, along with land divisions and fences, make establishment of complete control lines difficult. During daylight hours, Monday, air support was deployed to hit hot spots inside the perimeter.

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The Lāhainā Fire is 85% contained and has burned an estimated 2,170 acres. Multiple fire crews are assigned to monitor and address any flareups. There are no active threats at this time.

The Pūlehu/Kīhei Fire Remains 100% contained. Fire personnel are staying vigilant for flare-ups. There are no active threats at this time.

The Hawai’i National Guard has two military helicopters on standby for any immediate firefighting needs.

This Monday, Aug. 14, image shows more of the destruction from the Lāhainā Fire on Maui. (Photo courtesy of the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources)

Original story: The death toll in the devastating Maui wildfires has increased again. As of 10 p.m. Aug. 14, the Maui Police Department reported there are now 99 confirmed fatalities. About 25% of the area has been searched.

Three of the dead have been identified. There names will be released after their families are notified.

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The Family Assistance Center for those seeking information about loved ones and for those who are unaccounted for is now open 10 a.m. to 8 a.m. daily at the Kahului Community Center. Maui Emergency Management Agency and center staff will work with families and individuals to gather detailed information and administer DNA swabs.

As of 7 p.m. Monday, the Lāhainā Fire was 85% contained and had burned an estimated 2,170 acres. Multiple fire crews are assigned to monitor and address any flare-ups. There are no active threats at this time.

The Upcountry/Kula Fire was 65% contained and had burned an estimated 678 acres. Hot spots in gulches and other hard to reach places, along with land divisions and fences, make establishment of complete control lines difficult. During daylight hours Monday, air support was deployed to hit hot spots.

The Pūlehu/Kīhei Fire remains 100% contained. Fire personnel are staying vigilant for flare-ups. There are no active threats at this time.

When a fire is 100% contained, firefighters have the blaze fully surrounded by a perimeter, inside which it can still burn. It does not mean the fire was extinguished.

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A fire is declared extinguished when fire personnel think there is nothing left burning.

Power has been restored to all but 2,000 of the 12,400 West Maui customers who lost power. That total doesn’t include about 2,000 homes and businesses destroyed in the Lāhainā disaster. Power also has been restored to the Lāhainā Civic Center and nearby areas.

All six emergency shelters also now have internet connection.

Text, not talk, is still recommended as the best way to communicate for locations with connectivity.

An online, centralized hub called Maui Nui Strong has been launched to respond to the impacts of the Lāhainā and Kula wildfire disaster.

The site, hosted by Maui County, offers information about how to donate, volunteer, offer services and look for support. It is administered through the Office of Economic Development and will be used by multiple county departments, nonprofit organizations and grassroots efforts to connect people to resources and services.

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