According to the governor, 53 people have died in the Maui wildfires, and old Lahaina has been destroyed.

On the Hawaiian island of Maui, where a wildfire has caused at least 53 fatalities, a search on Thursday turned up a wasteland of devastated landmarks and neighborhoods that had been charred beyond recognition.

The entire neighborhood of historic Lahaina, which had once been a riot of color and the heart of the island, was reduced to gray ash during a flyover.

Along Front Street, where visitors had been dining and shopping only a few days earlier, block after block was nothing but ruins and burned foundations.

The town, which dates back to the 1700s and is the largest village on the island’s west side, was covered in smoke, the harbor’s boats were charred, and there were scorched boats in the harbor.

With a few exceptional circumstances, Lahaina has been completely destroyed, Hawaii Governor Josh Green told The Associated Press. He claimed that still-burning fires had damaged more than 1,000 structures.

The Big Island tsunami of 1960 claimed 61 lives, making this state’s natural tragedy the deadliest since then. As long as search and rescue efforts are ongoing, the death toll is certain to increase, according to Green.

Green remarked, “Our hearts are broken.

One of the town’s oldest stores, Tiffany Kidder Winn’s gift shop, Whaler’s Locker, was among the many establishments that were destroyed. On Thursday, as she was evaluating the damage, she came across a row of burned-out cars, some of which had incinerated occupants.

She observed that they appeared to be trying to leave but were unable to leave Front Street due to traffic. Later, she noticed a body propped up against a seawall.

Because of how widespread the damage was, Winn claimed, “I was unable to identify where I’d been as all of the landmarks were gone.”

The fire started on Tuesday and caught Maui off guard, fueled by a dry summer and high winds from a passing hurricane. It raced over the island’s parched vegetation before feeding on houses and anything else that stood in its way.

Since the 2018 Camp Fire in California, which claimed the lives of at least 85 people and destroyed the town of Paradise, this U.S. wildfire, with an official death toll of 53 as of Thursday, has been the worst.

However, as rescuers access areas of the island that had been unreachable because of the three active fires, including the one near Lahaina that was 80% contained on Thursday, according to a Maui County news release, the death toll in Hawaii might increase. Numerous people have been hurt, some seriously.

“We are still trying to preserve life. According to Adam Weintraub, a spokeswoman for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, search and rescue are still top priorities.

According to Weintraub, search and rescue crews won’t be able to approach some regions until the fire lines are safely secured and access is permitted.

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