Last confirmed Maui wildfire victim is identified

More than five months after a wind-fueled wildfire swept through the coastal Maui town of Lahaina, officials have identified the last of the 100 confirmed victims.

Lydia Coloma, 70, of Lahaina, has been identified and her next of kin notified, the County of Maui and the Maui Police Department said in a statement Friday.

She is the 100th confirmed death and there are 100 estimated fatalities, the county and police said.

There are no more people who have been confirmed dead but whose families have not been notified or found following the wildfire disaster in Maui, which occurred in August, the statement said.

Coloma had been on a list of people who were reported unaccounted for or missing after the fire, police have said. Three people remain on that list.

“Our priority is to handle this situation with the utmost sensitivity and respect for those who are grieving,” the county and police department said in the statement.

The fires that broke out on Aug. 8 on Maui, which occurred as winds gusted around 60 mph, is one of the deadliest fires in U.S. history.

Most of the town of Lahaina, which had housed more than 12,000 people before the disaster, was destroyed and many people were displaced. Other parts of the island were also affected.

The government said it remains a challenging time after the fires.

“We will continue to work closely with the families to ensure they are updated and supported throughout this process,” the county and police department said.

At the time of the fires, strong easterly trade winds had been whipped up by Hurricane Dora, which was 400 miles south of Maui but powerful enough to cause weather that affected the island.

A phenomenon known as downslope winds caused the winds to be both super dry and super hot due to compression as they came down mountains.

After the disaster, there was criticism about the fact that warning sirens, there primarily for tsunamis, did not sound in the Lahaina area, and against Hawaii Electric, which the county later sued. The utility company has said that lines were de-energized hours before the fire broke out.

A cause of the fire has not been determined.

The aftermath of a wildfire in Lahaina, Hawaii on Aug. 21.Jae C. Hong / AP
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