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Hawaii AG to release first report from probe into deadly Maui wildfires on Wednesday

By Sara Smart and Emma Tucker, CNN

(CNN) — The first phase of findings from a comprehensive investigation into the August 2023 wildfires in Maui, the deadliest in the US in more than a century, will be released on Wednesday by Hawaii’s attorney general.

Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez, who is leading the review of officials’ response to the catastrophic wildfires, will speak at an 11 a.m. (5 p.m. ET) news conference Wednesday to discuss the findings of the report, which her office conducted in partnership with the Fire Safety Research Institute.

The first phase of the report analyzes “how the fire incident unfolded, based on science, during the first 24 to 72 hours of the fire and its aftermath, and includes a comprehensive timeline of events,” the attorney general said in a March news release.

The death toll from the fires mounted to at least 100 as crews spent days digging through the rubble of what used to be homes, businesses and historic landmarks to find the remains of those lost in the fires.

Fueled by ferocious winds from Hurricane Dora hundreds of miles offshore, the fast-moving wildfires leveled entire neighborhoods and displaced hundreds of residents. The historic town of Lahaina – located on the western coast of Maui – suffered extensive destruction and was nearly wiped out.

In February authorities found the remains of Paul Kasprzycki, 76, leaving two people on the missing list.

The Maui wildfires were the deadliest in the US in more than 100 years, research from the National Fire Protection Association shows.

In March, Gov. Josh Green said fire detection sensors were being placed around Maui and other Hawaiian islands to respond more quickly when wildfires break out.

About 80 wildlife sensors were going to be sited, with the first ones being put on Maui.

Emergency access roads are being added to the area as another safety measure, as the state works to rebuild Lahaina, according to the governor. Additional evacuation routes are not just limited to Maui but are also being implemented on Oahu.

The attorney general’s report will be made public a day after Maui fire officials released an After Action Report regarding the August 2023 wildfires that devastated the town of Lahaina.

That report gave an overview of how fire officials prepared for, responded to, and worked on recovery from the fires. It detailed a list of recommendations, including how to raise situational awareness of escalating wildfire issues; the types of training and technology for leadership and operational management; and how to improve operations and firefighter safety on wildfires.

Hawaii officials said during a Tuesday news conference the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is still investigating the wildfires and no cause has been revealed yet.

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