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Ongoing wildfires in US state of Hawaii leave 36 dead

At least 36 people have died and many were injured in the US state of Hawaii due to ongoing wildfires ravaging the island of Maui, according to county officials.

"As the firefighting efforts continue, 36 total fatalities have been discovered today amid the active Lahaina fire," the county of Maui said on its website on late Wednesday.

The US Coast Guard has rescued more than a dozen people who jumped into the ocean to escape the blazes and search and rescue crews are looking for more people who may have become stranded amid the chaos.

The three separate wildfires have been spurred by 60-mile-per-hour (96 kilometer-per-hour) gusting winds from Hurricane Dora in the Pacific Ocean and firefighters are being hampered by downed power lines and trees on roads.

Sharing a video that vividly portrays the wreckage in Kihei and Lahaina, Acting Governor of Hawaii Sylvia Luke took to Twitter to express her emotions, saying: "Seeing the devastation of Kihei and Lahaina firsthand was incredibly sobering and heartbreaking. We are working tirelessly to ensure the health and safety of every person affected."

Also, Luke activated the National Guard on Tuesday, forcing the evacuation of 2,100 residents who are now being housed in shelters.

Tourists are being asked to stay away from Maui, and all nonessential travel to the island is being discouraged for safety reasons.


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